Councilwoman Pam Julien Houchen first raised the issue with staff nine
months ago after she heard Downtown residents' complaining about litter
left by people scavenging through rubbish in bins.
"People were going through trash left outside of a business," Julien
Houchen said. "Cans were left outside and weren't put behind a fence or
an enclosed area. I think [a change to the ordinance] is long overdo, but
I think for the time being the problem of undersized bins and trash left
outside in the alleys is being addressed."
Trash piling beyond the capacity of bins, residents leaving their cans
in the middle of alleys on non-trash collection days and people dumping
their trash in other's bins concerns both city officials and trash
"This problem has not been addressed adequately for years," said Bob
Beardsley, the city's director of public works. "We need to have more
tools to deal with the problems we have seen. [The problems] have been
around as long as trash."
Specific problem areas include bins placed behind Downtown businesses,
in the middle of alleys and near multifamily residences, he said.
"There's a high concentration of people living there that overload the
[bins] with trash and the apartments are not designed for that,"
Though overflowing trash isn't a "simple" problem to identify, areas
with multifamily housing have had more instances of overflowing refuse,
said Ron Shenkman, senior vice president of Rainbow Disposal, the city's
"The issue here is with health and safety. We're trying to do our best
to maintain a clean city as a healthy place to live," Shenkman said.
When Rainbow enters into contracts with commercial businesses and
multifamily residences, the owners tell them the level of service they
want, including the kind of bin and how often they want Rainbow to
dispose of their trash, Shenkman added.
Residents living in single-family homes put out their own cans and
haven't traditionally been a problem, Shenkman said.
The language in the ordinance has confused some council members.
A section of the ordinance that baffles Councilwoman Connie Boardman
is the city's ownership of the trash once a bin is placed curbside for
"So does this mean that if I put my trash out and need to go back to
grab something I could get fined because the city now owns my trash?"
Boardman asked staff at last week's city council meeting.
"I think I don't like this ordinance very much," Boardman said with a