Thursday, January 24, 2008
Mayor, board revisit curbside junk issue
By Sue Watson
Holly Springs residents are not complying with the city’s policy to refrain from leaving household junk on the curbside, according to Mayor Andre’ DeBerry.
This leaves the city with perhaps only one more option - to provide the service itself and raise the sanitation fee for all customers.
In boardroom discussions Wednesday of last week, DeBerry said the city will resume picking up used furniture and other items using the knuckle-boom trucks in order to restore the city’s appearance. He pointed out that junk furniture keeps appearing on the main gateway to the city - Craft Street.
“I’m concerned about the stuff sitting on the street,” he said. “People are not calling ASCO (to come remove discarded items).”
The city’s street department operates a leaf vacuum machine and the knuckle-boom is used to pick up limbs which are not to be mixed with leaves because limbs clog the leaf vacuum.
DeBerry said he wants the board to consider raising sanitation rates and the city would resume the curbside service.
“The city cannot rely on residents to call ASCO,” he said.
This issue is one of inability to enforce the order for residents to take charge of the removal of their discards versus keeping the city clean, DeBerry said.
One option he suggested the city may have is to charge the homeowner for picking up bulk stuff and put the fee on the individual’s bill.
Homeowners who are remodeling their places are required by the zoning ordinances to purchase a permit and provide a construction waste dumpster for refuse, he said.
“Contractors are responsible for hauling stuff off in containers,” DeBerry said.
The city pays a tipping fee based on weight for junk that goes into ASCO’s collecting bins - that is stuff the street department picks up that is not leaves or limbs.
Alderman Russell Johnson supports an across-the-board assessment for all city residents because of concern about picking up stuff piecemeal.
“If it’s on the curb, it could be picked up without permission,” he said. “ASCO (Waste Connections Inc.) will haul stuff off in a dumpster and charge the city a tipping fee.”
Street Department supervisor Jairus Leasure said work done by permit and a contractor has to be paid for by the resident or his contractor.
“I would expect anyone getting work done to get a building permit and have a dumpster for what they are tearing out,” DeBerry said.
Alderman Garrie Colhoun called attention to the mess that accumulates on Craft Street.
Alderman-At-Large Tim Liddy said if residents know the city will pick up stuff they will put their discards out for sure.
“I’m concerned about a free-forall,” he said.
“As it stands now, the public is not refraining from leaving stuff on curbs,” DeBerry said.
Johnson said the city needs to be consistent in its policy and should inform residents what they should do about discards without the board changing its mind.
“The public needs to know the process,” he said.
“The system is in place but it is not communicated to the public,” DeBerry said.
“We had provided free service and then cut it off,” Johnson said.
“The problem is the way we deliver information to the public,” DeBerry said.
Colhoun and alderman Nancy Hutchens suggested individual residents could be charged by the city for hauling off junk by applying the fee to the utility bill.
DeBerry said the city’s policy with regard to discards at curbside could be included as a note in the utility bill mail-outs as a way of communicating directly to each household. But the utility department’s billing company, CSA (Central Service Association), would have to send non-city residents the same note in the mail-out to customers, DeBerry said.
“We could, in fact, increase the sanitation rate,” said DeBerry. “We can see how many dumpsters (of refuse) ASCO picks up.”
The board left to another day the decision on how it will handle the matter.
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