The Hempstead Town Board unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday increasing penalties for solicitors and door-to-door salesmen who violate an anti-peddling ordinance.
The town began earlier this month to distribute anti-solicitation brochures and signs for homeowners to display in their homes, ordering solicitors not to knock or ring doorbells, effective immediately. The ordinance excludes politicians and religious and nonprofit groups.
The town will fine peddlers $500, up from $250, for the first offense of knocking on homes that have the signs. The fine will increase to $1,000 for a second offense.
Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray said she is also trying to increase penalties for salespeople doing business in town without a town peddler's license, which requires a criminal-background check.
Each of the no-soliciting signs is a 3-by-7-inch vinyl window decal that also carries the town seal and Murray's name.
Several residents criticized Murray for using her name on the seal and using tax dollars for mailers and producing the signs. Murray did not immediately have the total cost for the project, but said it should be clear the signs are town-sponsored.
"You can think of it any way you want," Murray said during Tuesday's meeting. "The point is elected officials are on the line and solicitors would know it's a town issue."
Claudia Borecky, 57, of Merrick, who is a Nassau County Democratic Board of Elections employee, said residents assume the signs should stop campaigning, but they are a campaign sign for Murray.
"I've never had an encyclopedia salesman at my door," Borecky told Murray, a Republican. "If this was a truly altruistic concern, you would not want your name to be seen at all. . . . I shouldn't be forced to put your name on my door."
Murray said, "That's your opinion, and I respect your opinion. Thousands of other residents aren't quite concerned." The signs were generated from resident petitions, after complaints of being bothered at home, Murray said.
Board member Gary Hudes said his office has already received 3,500 requests for the signs in his district.
Residents can order stickers by calling 516-812-3200.