Council To Discuss Trash Compactor, Cost Of Trash Carts, And Yard Debris

Council To Discuss Trash Compactor, Cost Of Trash Carts, And Yard Debris Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 02 September 2015 04:00

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council will discuss several waste related issues at their upcoming September 8th, meeting. Those include an updated ordinance governing the trash compactor near the downtown Boardwalk, stolen or lost trash carts and how yard debris is collected.
The Council will consider an amendment to the ordinance governing use of the trash compactor at the Boardwalk by "non-subscribers".
The Town has received complaints about a business owner located outside of the Central Business District and Boardwalk area transporting trash in a vehicle to dump in the compactor.
That compactor is for the use of "subscribers". Many of the businesses in the downtown Central Business District occupy nearly 100 percent of their respective properties. That leaves no room for a dumpster or a place to store trash carts.
Years ago the Town installed a large trash compactor behind the Boardwalk on Canal Drive in between Cape Fear Blvd and Harper Avenue and charges a fee to local businesses to use that facility.
According to Town Manager Michael Cramer, "The current ordinance, governing the utilization of the Boardwalk compactor and recycling facility, indicates that the facility is to be locked and a key dispensed to each business owner. The business owner would use the key to access the compactor area and properly dispose of waste and recycling refuse generated by their respective businesses."
Cramer explained to Council earlier this week, "Practices have evolved over a long period of time and the lock and key method was abandoned sometime within the last 20 years. This has left the compactor area in a non secure state, with no deterrent to prevent improper usage of the facility by businesses that are not located within the Boardwalk area and paying the monthly disposal fees for the use."
The Town received complaints earlier this summer that employees of the Lazy Pirate Island Sports Grille and Oyster Bar on North Lake Park Blvd were at times transporting trash in a vehicle to dump into the compactor.
Cramer explained on August 3rd, "As for the Lazy Pirate, we have requested that they cease and desist from using the Boardwalk dumpster."
The Town's code of ordinances already contained language spelling out that a lock be used to secure the compactor and only those paying to use it would be provided a key for access. There was even a penalty for allowing other parties to use a "subscribers" key.
Cramer explained to Council earlier this week, "Upon being notified of this problem, Town Staff began to look for solutions. For the sake of simplicity, Staff chose to return to the lock and key method that is in agreement with the current ordinance. Locks were installed at the entrances to the compactor area and numbered keys distributed out to each of the Boardwalk businesses that are paying the monthly fee for it's usage. This should help in controlling the non permitted use of the facility by businesses outside the Boardwalk area."
He explained, "The current ordinance addresses penalties and revocation of privileges associated to Boardwalk business owners that allow access and usage of the compactor by individuals other than those permitted. However, there is no language in the current ordinance that addresses illegal use of the compactor/recycling facility by a non subscriber and, specifically, the penalties associated with illegally using the compactor."
The Council will consider an amendment at their September 8th, meeting that adds language to ensure that only subscribers are allowed to the use the compactor.
The Council will also consider and amendment to the budget to remove fees for replacing lost or stolen trash carts.
According to Cramer the current Town policy that regulates the fee associated with replacing a stolen or lost trash can states that the customer may receive a new trash can, but the Town will charge an $80.00 replacement fee.
At a previous council meeting Councilman Gary Doetsch requested information regarding the number of lost or stolen trash cans the Town has processed over the past three years.
The Town recorded 20 cans replaced in 2013, 37 cans in 2014 and 13 cans as of July 30th of this year.
Cramer explained the anticipated impact on the budget will be approximately  $2,644 per year.
The Council will also consider changing the way Town collects vegetative yard debris.
Currently the Town permits one free pickup of yard debris  per quarter equal to about one cubic yard or whatever they can fit in one load in a pickup truck. There is no limit on the size of branches for diameter or length.
According to Assistant Town Manager Ed Parvin, some of the issues with the current policy are:
1. Additional human resources are needed to keep up with the seasonal workload.
2. Confusion by staff on what constitutes an acceptable free pick up (one per quarter, one larger pick up every 6 months, what should the charge be for different pickups).
3. Inconsistency in policy and practice.
4. No predictability on pick up for the resident.
5. Unclear changes/subjective or inconsistent with Town Code.
6. Not everyone calls in their trash.
7. Man power per year exceed $200,000.
The current fees for yard debris pickup are:
- Dump Truck Load:  $100.00
- Pick Up Truck Load of Brush or Debris:  $60.00
- Anything less than Pick Up Truck Load of Brush or Debris:  $40.00
Fees for household debris pickup vary depending on the item. For example, $6.00 for a mattress or box spring, $15 for a couch and up to $40 for a large television.
The Council was presented with four options at their July 27th, meeting and they requested town staff expand upon the preferred
alternative option number four by providing more information on how the Town can inform the residents about the new program and follow through with implementation.
Option Four would consist of staff developing specific zones that would be picked up weekly. Every resident would get one free pick up a month with no call in. No yard waste or bulk items would be allowed to be put out on a week other than a resident's designated pickup week. Bulk items would be put out at the same time but for a fee.
According to Assistant Town Manager Ed Parvin, that option provides predictability in yard waste piles. Once the Town educates the public on the new policies they anticipate there will be consistency in how yard waste is placed at the curb. That would allow the Town to plan for logistics of picking up trash with the most efficient number of persons and pieces of equipment.
It would also make pickup time more predictable and give residents more flexibility to use bundles and
paper bags.
The option would also clarify the types of bulk items the Town will pick up, enforcement actions and allows for better management of workloads.
However, Option Four could be more costly as the Town is currently only accommodating one pickup per quarter. While there will be flexibility in how yard waste may be placed at the curb, there would be new guidelines on sizes and required containers that residents would have to follow.
In June of this year Cramer addressed Council concerns over a large backlog of yard debris pick ups leaving piles of debris along residential streets.
Cramer explained the backlog was the result of equipment failures including two large backhoes as well as changes at Freeman Park that required more staff time.
Additionally, Cramer said Tropical Storm Ana utilized a majority of Town staff to make beach access areas safe including repairs to wooden walkways and knocking down escarpments on the beach.
Cramer explained, "With the opening of the new boardwalk we have dedicated more resources to maintaining this facility. As you know we have had significant vandalism at the boardwalk and continued to upgrade our services during the spring."
Town crews began working through the backlog of piles on June 15th by working in zones to systematically remove piles of debris and loading them into large containers.
The backlog was addressed within a couple of weeks.
The Council will consider these three items at their September 8th, meeting at Town Hall starting at 6:30PM.


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