City Approves Trash Removal Ordinance

An ordinance approved on first reading Monday by the Warsaw Common Council may affect the trash removal for some city residents living in residential complexes or rental unit communities.
The second and final reading will be at 7 p.m. April 18.
“Essentially, what we’re doing is cleaning up the pretty antiquated, old solid waste ordinance to allow us to use 96-gallon containers. That’s the primary purpose here,” Mayor Joe Thallemer told the council in introducing Ordinance 2016-04-01, which amends the solid waste ordinance.
“We’ve also gone through and defined residential complexes of four or fewer units, which we’ve always tried to adhere to as the city would pick up those units of four or fewer residential units; and require larger rental communities of five or more units to be picked up privately,” he continued. “We’ve never had that in the ordinance. We’ve just always stuck to more of a rule than rather an ordinance, and I think as we are going to this new system, we’ve felt it was important to make that definition because there are some larger communities that we have been serving.”
He said the “big problem” there is that the city does not handle dumpsters. The city doesn’t own, repair or provide any dumpsters. While the city’s public works department can empty the dumpsters, Thallemer said there’s a problem when it doesn’t own them. The city owns the new 64- and 96-gallon trash receptacles that are going out to residents through the new trash container program.
“Our guys have injuries when those dumpsters are not in good shape, they’re not on pads, they’re rusted out, something breaks,” he said.
Thallemer said he couldn’t find any Indiana cities that provide trash service to any residential buildings larger than four units and most he found were two duplexes or single units.
The ordinance defines a residential complex as a habitable dwelling of four or fewer units “that fall under the Indiana Building Code, constituting a commercial structure; or four or fewer residential units situated on one parcel within the city.” A rental unit community means “one or more parcels of contiguous property upon which are located one or more structures containing rental units,” if the combined total of all rental units in all of the structures are five or more rental units and the rental units are not occupied solely by the owner or owner’s family.
The ordinance states it “shall be unlawful to place or to permit to remain anywhere in the city any natural debris or rubbish too bulky to place in containers, except immediately adjacent to a public street or alley preparatory to having the material collected and disposed of by the city or in a lawfully established dump.” The city will pick up those items on an as-needed basis.
The ordinance also makes it unlawful in the city to put any garbage or refuse anywhere except in a city-supplied container, except that refuse which is too bulky to place in a container.
According to the ordinance, every one-family and two-family dwelling unit will be supplied by the city with a refuse storage container. Residential complexes will be supplied by the city with containers equal to the number of units.
Commercial refuse and rubbish shall be stored in metal or other approved containers determined adequate by city codes and the Department of Public Works. In all commercial districts, except C-4 districts, all refuse containers that are open to the public view or adjacent properties shall be screened from view.
Rental unit communities will not be served by the city.
“So that’s a big change in here,” Thallemer indicated.
Containers must be removed from city streets within 24 hours of having been emptied by the city, according to the ordinance.
“That’s something that folks have adhered to. We’ve never really had that in the ordinance, but the fact that we’re moving the trash and recycling pick-up out to the curb, we just wanted to be sure that those that are putting them out there for the first time understand that they have to come back off the curb, so the 24 hours was added,” he said in highlighting the changes made.
He said he met with the landlords and discussed the ordinance and they came to an understanding.
“I’ve actually allowed the rental communities a six-month grace period, so we will continue to do what we’ve done until the first week of November. They were understanding, maybe not in full agreement, but still this is a decision that we have made. I explained to them that we don’t provide dumpsters and certainly don’t want to get in the dumpster business,” he said.
The ordinance also defines a refuse bag as “plastic sacks designed for refuse with sufficient wall strength to maintain physical integrity when lifted, securely tied at the top for collection and not to exceed 40 pounds in loaded weight.”
Councilwoman Diane Quance said a 96-gallon container will hold more than one bag, but the definition had the 40-pound limit in it, so people will have to put more bags into the containers if they have more than 40 pounds. For her new trash container, she said she uses industrial bags, which hold more weight, so the definition was “antiquated.”
“It might be,” Thallemer responded. “The idea with the bags and the Totes is that most people use the small bags from their trash can, tie them up and throw it in the Tote. Now, I’ve got 32-gallon and I use the big bag on the 32-gallon but … we’re trying to discourage the use of the big bag because when you dump, the idea is that you want bags to be dumped, not loose trash to be dumped out of that big 96-gallon (can). I don’t even know if they make bags that big. The idea here is, if they’ve still got to pick something up, they still don’t want it to be more than 40 pounds. That’s the idea.”
“Forty pounds per individual bag?” Quance asked.
“Right,” Thallemer said.
“As many bags as you can get into your individual (96-gallon container),” Quance said.
City attorney Mike Valentine said it was decided to leave that in there so if the city workers ended up with bags that had to be handled for some reason, they weren’t going to be more than 40 pounds.
“Recognize that when people use the 96-gallon, they may dump it in there raw, and they may dump it in there in other kind of bags, and we’re hoping that will cover about 99 percent of it,” Valentine said.