PITTSBURGH Metal recyclers in Montgomery County, Texas, are facing a five-day tag-and-hold on some items after local officials passed an ordinance that aims to stop metal theft and weed out roadside scrap operations.
The new law, which will take effect March 1, requires that a representative sample of any regulated material, such as guardrails, manhole covers, utility wire and aluminum, be held for five days, although the bulk of the material can be processed, according to Montgomery County attorney John Daniels.
Recyclers will have to pay a $250 fee for a license to operate in any unincorporated part of the county. Scrapyards in Conroe are exempt because they are regulated by the city.
The news was a surprise to many local recyclers, who oppose a hold period. "Copper could drop 15 cents tomorrow and I have to hold for five days? How would they like it if I told them the stock market was going to tank tomorrow but they couldnt get their money out for five days," a recycler in the area said.
The Montgomery County Sheriffs Office proposed the ordinance to deal with a two-pronged problem. "We have guys setting up all over and working out of storage units," County Commissioner Ed Rinehart told AMM. After March 1, local law enforcement will be able to shut down such businesses that do not have an operating license.
"Right now the laws hands are tied and there is no way to stop these guys," Rinehart said. "They are part of the problem and will buy anything. We had an AT&T tower hit twice in three days."