Toledo store owners protest city mandates

Jimmy Jomaa says he can not afford the security system mandated by the city.
Jimmy Jomaa says he can not afford the security system mandated by the city.
Scott Ciolek, attorney for the retailers association, believes the new ordinance could put many store owners out of business.
Scott Ciolek, attorney for the retailers association, believes the new ordinance could put many store owners out of business.

TOLEDO -- A new City of Toledo ordinance regulating local convenience stores will take effect next month, reports News 11's Shelley Brown.

However, the Midwest Retailers Assn. filed a lawsuit against the city on Thursday, trying to forestall the ordinance, which was actually passed in December.

The problem? The ordinance will require convenience store owners to install security cameras in their parking lots. Owners say this requirement could cost them their businesses.

Jimmy Jomaa has run a north end convenience store with his brother for 28 years. He agrees the new city ordinance regulating businesses like his could actually hurt them.

"I know I can't afford nothing like that. It's hard for me just to pay a bill," Jomaa says about the mandate.

Scott Ciolek, who represents the Midwest Retailers Assn., agrees.

"I think this has the potential to put almost all of them out of business," Ciolek says. "The security camera has to be capable of storing images on it that are of a good enough quality so that anybody coming in and out of the store can be identified by police or any city administrator."

In addition, cameras must be recording 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for a period of no less than 30 days.

"I don't have time to go out there and make sure my camera's running, keep track of eight tapes at a time," Jomaa says.

If store owners do not meet all of the requirements, they could be fined $100 a day and have their licenses revoked.

"We did pricing, and it's very inexpensive to put camera equipment in a convenient store," acknowledges former City Council President Rob Ludeman, who says the new ordinance came about because of concerns from neighborhood groups and police. He claims, however, that the purpose is to create safer environments, not to drive stores out of business.

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