County supervisors have adopted a new ordinance requiring businesses that advertise going-out-of-business sales to actually do so.
The action updates county ordinances to match state law, which prohibits advertising or insinuating a going-out-of-business sale without paying a permit fee to the local Commissioner of the Revenue. It also requires that the commissioner’s office ensure the business’s compliance with that permit by taking an inventory of the business’s products. Businesses would not be allowed to add to that inventory after obtaining the permit. Violating that ordinance would be a Class 1 misdemeanor.
County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) opposed the ordinance change, citing concerns about businesses whose fortunes are reversed during the sale and no longer have to go out of business.
“I think this is government overreach,” Randall said. “I think citizens, especially citizens of Loudoun County, are smart enough to know that that mattress store has now been out of business three times in two years, and it is a sales tactic.”
Enforcement of the ordinance would be discretionary, allowing the Commissioner of the Revenue to allow a business to stay open without penalty in the case of a good-faith change of plans. Randall ultimately voted for the new ordinance.
“Whether or not you agree with the law, any law, this is the Code of Virginia, and we all took an oath of office, and that oath of office was that we will uphold the Constitution and the laws of the U.S., and we will uphold the constitution and the laws of Virginia, and I feel that it’s our responsibility whether we agree with the laws or not to abide by our oath,” said Vice Chairman Ralph M. Buona (R-Ashburn).
Supervisors approved the new ordinance 7-0-1-1, with Supervisor Kristen C. Umstattd (D-Leesburg) abstaining and Supervisor Koran T. Saines (D-Sterling) absent.