New garbage rules leave businesses unhappy

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 15, 2002

[12/15/02]Just two weeks before the deadline for local businesses to enclose their commercial garbage receptacles or possibly face fines, some local business owners say they are not happy about the new ordinance.

Business have until Jan. 1 to comply with the new rules or face fines up to $1,000. Some shop owners have already erected structures around waste containers and others, like Gayle Barber, the owner of Southern Exposure, 1460 S. Frontage Road, are making plans to have enclosures built over the next two weeks.

“We’re really disturbed about it, but we’ve got to do it,” Barber said.

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The containment areas must be a fence made of wood, concrete or brick and stand at least 6 feet high, according to the ordinance passed by the city board in May. Each enclosure must also have a gate with a latch and be on a concrete pad or existing asphalt surface.

City officials have said they expect the change to reduce the amount of litter on the streets. Business owners see it differently.

“It’s an extra, added expense that we just don’t need,” Barber said.

Sandra Pearman, owner of The Biscuit Company, 1100 Washington St., opted to trade in her trash receptacle for three of the new 96-gallon garbage containers rather than find a spot on the hills downtown to build an enclosure.

“There’s just no place downtown to do that,” Pearman said.

Under new rules, small businesses can get the same garbage containers distributed to Vicksburg households. The businesses pay $5 extra per month for each additional container and $33.50 per month for collection four times a week.

John Bove, owner of People’s Drug Store, 1521 Washington St., said he does not see anything wrong with leaving the big metal receptacles the way they are today.

“I don’t like it, not right off,” Bove said. “It’s been years like that with no problems.”

Business owners aren’t the only ones concerned about the new rules. Code Enforcement Officer Wayne Scott said the city, which also has only two weeks to comply with the ordinance, has 22 garbage receptacles across Vicksburg.

“The first citation I will issue will be to the Mayor’s Office,” Scott said.

Mayor Laurence Leyens said he agrees with Scott and that he will instruct Scott not to cite any businesses until the city has fully complied with the new rules.

“No one will get a citation until all 22 of the city’s Dumpsters are enclosed,” Leyens said.

The enclosures are part of the city’s new garbage rules that included the 96-gallon containers and new curbside collection policies. Under those new rules, residents can mix yard waste with household waste on the second day of collection.

Those rules also require tree limbs to be bundled in 4-foot sections weighing no more than 50 pounds, leaves and other yard waste to be bagged and all garbage placed inside the new containers.

Garbage left in piles on the side of the road will not be picked up, and residents may be cited and made to appear before the city’s new community court. There, they can be fined up to $1,000.

The city’s contract haulers from Waste Management Inc., visit all city homes twice each week.

Orders are being taken for 32-, 48-, or 64-gallon containers that some residents, particularly the elderly, have said would be less trouble. Residents may also get a second container for an additional $5 per month, and people with medical conditions who are unable to roll a container to the curb can apply for door service.

Along with the change in services, the cost increased in November $1.55 to $12.60 per month. The fee is included with charges for water, sewer and gas.

City officials established the new Community Court to hear code violations such as zoning matters, litter or building codes. The court began meeting in October to reduce the number of cases going before the city’s municipal court, which meets twice a week to handle misdemeanor criminal matters.

Local attorney J. Mack Varner was appointed by the city board as the first Community Court judge. Court is held at the Vicksburg Police Department.