BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A Berkeley County councilman said Thursday he wants to look at a possible ordinance to force a controversial church group to stop collecting money at major intersections.
Councilman Ken Gunn says he's received complaints from many residents about the group from the New Life Church that has been asking for money to feed the hungry.
A Live 5 News investigation revealed the collectors apparently are from out of state and have no connections to the Lowcountry.
"Do I want them to leave? I want legitimate organizations to have the ability to raise funds," said Berkeley County council member Ken Gunn.
Like many drivers in Berkeley County, Gunn has been approached by the men wearing vests and carrying buckets.
"That raises concerns. If you're stopping our residents at our intersections, you would think it would be a local organization doing something," Gunn said. "It's a safety issue. It's a credibility issue as well."
Gunn says it's time for county council to get involved and maybe try move the men and their collection buckets out of the county.
Our investigation revealed the New Life Church has been issued three permits from the clerk of court since last year.
The latest one was issued January 6 and is good until the end of this year.
"I was not aware until just a little while ago that they have a permit. That's just one of the things we just need to address," said Gunn."I think Sheriff DeWitt should be issuing the permits. That's my personal opinion. I'm open to suggestions by other council members. That's just my opinion."
We have learned that before the group was issued its permit, Berkeley County deputies arrested one of its members for soliciting without a permit and also issued several citations.
Gunn says county council will discuss the issue at its next meeting on March 24.
Before New Life Church was issued its permit, Berkeley County deputies arrested one of its members for soliciting without a permit and also issued several citations for the same offense.
According to the clerk of court, because of Live 5 News' investigation and the controversy itself, they will change its application form to require anyone applying for a peddlers license to list what it will be used for, and if it's for collecting money, they will politely be denied the license.