Enforcement of garbage-container ordinance on hold

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 2, 2003

The new year dawns with a reprieve for all who lease commercial garbage containers in Vicksburg. City Hall promises no one will be fined for not having the containers enclosed until after the City of Vicksburg itself is in compliance with the ordinance.

The new law went into effect Wednesday after being passed in May. It requires business and apartment complexes and others who lease the containers to place them inside four walls.

“Until the city is in full compliance, we are not to issue any citations,” said Victor Gray-Lewis, inspection department administrator.

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The City of Vicksburg leases 22 of the containers and, to comply with city law, they must be enclosed by a wooden, concrete or brick fence at least 6 feet high. The enclosures must have a gate with a latch and be on a concrete pad or asphalt surface.

City officials say they expect the change to reduce the amount of garbage on the streets.

Mayor Laurence Leyens said getting the city’s enclosures built fell through the cracks at City Hall.

“We had a meeting about it last week,” Leyens said.

City Architect David Clement, who is overseeing building the containment areas, said the city is seeking quotes from private contractors for the work.

“There are too many of them and the time frame is too short,” Clement said, for city crews. “As soon as we get the quotes back, we’ll look at them and get the work done.”

State law allows municipalities to seek written quotes from at least two vendors for work under $15,000 instead of the more lengthy process of advertising for bids.

He could not say how long that work could take.

Meanwhile, some businesses across the city have complied with the new rules.

Penny George, owner of Reliable Motors, 3438 Halls Ferry Road, said the city had plenty of time to get its enclosures built and should have been the first to get the work done.

“They told me in November that we had 30 days and then they would start issuing tickets so I rushed out and got mine done,” George said. The tickets carry a possible $1,000 fine.

Vicksburg Warren School District trustees authorized up to $25,000 last month for 15 enclosures at its schools and other buildings in the city limits. Superintendent Donald Oakes said he hopes the cost is less.

The enclosures are part of the city’s new garbage rules that included 96-gallon containers and new curbside collection policies. Those same containers are available for some small businesses that pay $33.50 per month for collection four times a week.

Residential customers, who saw a rate increase of $1.55 to $12.60 per month in November, get curbside pickup twice a week, which includes yard waste and limbs on the second day of collection.

The fee is included on bills for water, sewer and gas.

Smaller 32-, 48-, or 64-gallon containers that some residents, particularly the elderly, have requested arrived this week and will be delivered to homes over the next two to three weeks. 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.