Changes in waste ordinances could be implemented in August
Trash bins left curbside after garbage pickups could result in a fine this fall if the Mount Pleasant City Commission approves several proposed amendments of its solid waste ordinance.
During its July 13 meeting, commissioners voted to hold a public hearing on proposed amendments for Aug. 10, which would implement a one-year pilot program for expanded curbside recycling, establish times for trash containers to be removed from curbs and allow more areas to choose which companies will remove their garbage.
If the amendments pass, trash containers would need to be removed from curbs by midnight on the day after collection day. Language in the ordinance would be reinstated to clarity the time, and would prohibit the overflow of containers. The drafted ordinance states bins must be able to fully close. Not following the ordinances would result in a municipal civil infraction and fine.
"It will help the appearance of the town," said Director of Public Works John Zang. "We had citizens saying we should be making (the neighborhoods) look better."
If bins are left out or are overflowing, the fine is $50 for the first violation. A $100 fine would be given for a second violation, and a $250 fine would be given for the third within the same calendar year.
For the expanded recycling program, three pilot areas would be established: Between Bellows and High streets, between High Street and downtown and the area north of downtown.
"We already have city-wide single family recycling, so we would be expanding that program," Zang said. "It would allow multi-family and rooming houses to use city recycling if they wanted to."
If the amendments pass, the proposed areas would pay $1.50 per month per every six people living at the residence. The idea is to get more residents to recycle. Though the amendments aren't specifically aimed at students, the commission agreed the large population of students in these areas plays an instrumental part in helping the program work.
"Recycling does not work without the students," said Commissioner Matthew Sous during the June 8 work session.
Also included in the proposed amendments is the option for residents in multi-family dwellings or rooming and boarding dwellings to use the city's bag and tag program instead of using hired commercial companies to collect trash. During the June 8 work session, Mayor Jim Holton said collecting trash this way would make more sense for residents who don't accumulate that much.
"It should be the more trash you create, the more you pay," Holton said.
Right now, single-family dwellings are automatically part of the bag and tag program. These residents pay for as much as they throw away. The amendment would extend this option to other types of residencies, so for every bag of trash, that resident would pay a specified amount of money. Zang said bags are available at stores like Meijer or Ric's, and anything put in the bag would be picked up.
"These residents (currently) use hired companies for their trash," Zang said. "When you do that, you pay for the big green trash can. It doesn't matter how much you fill it up. With bag and tag, you pay for only as much as you throw away."
Each bag or tag costs $2.05.
The public hearing on these proposed amendments will be at 7 p.m. on Aug. 10 at City Hall.