Trash has once again reared its ugly head at a Fort Smith Board of Directors meeting, but the issue of where to store curbside residential sanitation containers is not going away.
The ordinance would have required containers not be placed at the at the curbside before noon on the day before collection and must be removed from the street right-of-way by midnight on the day of collection. Also included in the ordinance was a stipulation that containers "be stored in a rear yard, side yard, carport, or garage," according to a memo from City Administrator Ray Gosack to the Board.
But Director Mike Lorenz introduced a motion to table the ordinance because he said it was not clear who would be responsible for enforcing any new requirements – either the city's sanitation department or neighborhood services.
In Gosack's memo, it said the new ordinance, if passed, would be enforced by the neighborhood services staff. But the text of the ordinance did not spell out enforcement in any way.
"I'd like to make a motion that we table this so we can get a little more clarification as to exactly what we're doing here," Lorenz told the Board and assembled public, which included the 14th class of the Fort Smith Citizens Academy. "I want to understand what penalties may or may not be there, how it's going to be handled and what department is going to handle it. I think we have a good start, but I think we just need a little more clarification."
The remainder of the Board voted with Lorenz with the exception of Director Philip Merry, who said he thought it was clear that neighborhood services would enforce the new rules.
"I don't know what's gone on from the last time we talked about it and now, but it seemed like there was good consensus last time we talked about it. And so now we're going to talk some more. I felt like we had done our pros and cons and I felt like we were there," Merry said.
The solution to all of these problems, he added, was very simple for residents and the Board.
"It's a very simple situation. Bring the trash cart back to equal to the front line of the home and we either do that, or we don't. And who's going to enforce it? I think they were thinking neighborhood services so as to not put more burden on (Director of Sanitation) Baridi (Nkokheli) and Baridi's people, which they're already doing to lay out sticker notices of education or whatever if they want."
While Merry thought the ordinance was clear and trash should stop being an issue at city Board meetings, at least one resident disagreed.
Resident David Harris spoke to the Board and said modernization of the city's trash collection, which is now automated therefore requiring the uniform collection containers, was a bigger burden than simply leaving things the way they had always been, likely ensuring continued public comment as the issue goes back for discussion at a noon study session in coming weeks and eventually back to the Board for a full up or down vote at a later date.
"It wasn't all that long ago that you never saw any trash cans. I kept them in the garage. You never saw my recycling cans. I kept them in the garage. You never saw my 40 or 50 bags of leaves because they were always in the alley. You never saw them, but that wasn't good enough. We needed to be in the 21st century. We needed to save money," he said.
No dates have been set as for when the ordinance would be up for discussion at a study session.
In other business, the Board:
• Passed an ordinance rezoning property at 11508 Roberts Boulevard from not zoned to industrial moderate. Applicant Steve Bing plans to relocate his industrial pre-cast business from across the street to 12.9 acres on Chaffee Crossing;
• Heard a second reading of an ordinance directing the installation of a four way stop at the intersection of Chad Colley Boulevard and Massard Road;
• Approved a resolution approving and authorizing implementation of the Five-Year (2014-2018) Sales Tax Program for street, bridges and related drainage improvements;
• Reauthorized five millage ordinances; and
• Approved a consent agenda that would accept the project as complete and authorize final payment of $172,320.84 to Forsgren, Inc. for the Neighborhood Sewer Improvements Project on Zero Street and authorize Amendment No. 1 to Authorization No. 2 with McGuire Engineering, Inc. for engineering services valued at $35,900 for the Neighborhood Sewer Improvements Project on Zero Street.