Blytheville Public Works employees have right to refuse trash removal

BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - The Blytheville City Council passed an ordinance that limits the amount of debris residents are permitted to leave on curbs for removal.

Public Works employees now have the authority to refuse to collect materials that do not comply with ordinance standards.

"We needed something more structured for our city," said Councilman Monte Hodges.

The ordinance states, "Limbs and other loose debris shall be placed at the curb and shall not be larger than 4 feet high, 8 feet wide and 4 feet deep. Limbs placed at the curb shall also not be more than 6 inches in diameter."

"Public Works would be held up at one residence, spending excess time cleaning up a ton of debris. They couldn't commit that time to the other residents, said Councilman Hodges.

Council members on the Health and Sanitation Committee amended the trash ordinance to include "contractors and other for-hire persons".

"They were building homes or doing renovations of homes, and they would just pile their debris out in front of the residence, and Public Works would come along and pick that debris up. The contractor should be responsible for hauling their own debris off and incur that expense, as opposed to the city incurring that expense and landfill fee."

Charles Thomas is in favor of the ordinance, but thinks the main problem is with the trash from individuals, not construction workers.

"It wasn't so much that it was couches, sheet rock and that kind of stuff, just a lot of throw-away stuff that people just set out, and they might set it out the day after pick-up day, and it sits there until the next week. Sometimes the animals get in it," said Thomas.

Thomas believes if city administrators want to see more of the sidewalks and less trash in the city, they should do a little more to help residents clear the way.

"I think the city needs to make sure that drop-off places off of Ash Street where residents can go and unload their throw-aways, that they need to make it more convenient and accessible."

Residents who violate the ordinance will be reported to Code Enforcement and fine $25 for each day the debris is left on the street.

Copyright 2012 KAIT. All rights reserved.