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Ryno wonders if volunteers could help clean up Ceres
illegal signage
Councilmember Linda Ryno wants to see if volunteers can help remove the illegal yard sale signs placed around Ceres. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/ Courier file photo

Councilmember Linda Ryno suggested last week that she would like to ask citizens who are part of the VIPS (Volunteers in Public Safety) program to help clean up the city of shopping carts, pull down illegal yard sale signs and report graffiti.

"They can do that," answered City Manager Toby Wells. "That generally is not their highest priority. They have items they're generally working on. They're pretty limited hours wise."

Ryno commented that the city has little financial resources for code enforcement activities but reported seeing "where this other city is really taking advantage of their volunteers in police.

"I'm just thinking how great that would be if we could use them to pick up ... shopping carts that are out and about. There's still a lot of yard sale signs that don't get taken down."

Mayor Chris Vierra suggested city staff could get back and see what could be done.

Ryno reported seeing two shopping carts on Caswell Avenue during the Aug. 28 council meeting. In years past code enforcement has been a part of getting loose carts rounded up by stores or the retrieval companies they hire.

The state Business and Professions Code makes it illegal for anyone to remove a shopping cart branded with a store name from its premises even temporarily. The offense is punishable as a misdemeanor.

The Ceres Municipal Code also forbids anyone from posting any yard sale sign except for one allowed at the sale location itself. Most residents either don't know about the law or defy it but the restriction is spelled out when residents apply at City Hall for a yard sale permit. Typically a sign is an indication that a household didn't bother to obtain a permit. In some instances, the city has shut down such sales.