Monday, February 02, 2009

A long-standing law

If a law that's been on the books for two years can be considered long-standing, there's nothing questionable about this statement:
Instead, the sudden accumulation of garbage along sidewalks in the Vieux Carre and CBD was the product of a surprise decision by the city's Sanitation Department to start enforcing a long-standing law that says owners of large businesses and residential properties with more than four units must hire private contractors to collect their trash.

As far as I can tell, that wasn't spelled out until the sanitation code was revised in 2007. One could argue that the revised sanitation code merely clarified the old code, which limited collection to four bags or four permanent containers, but that would be debatable. At any rate, there's still the (entirely predictable) problem of larger buildings that are paying the fee:
The water bill for a Quarter condo association with 10-units for example showed it was already paying $12 a month for each unit, but the association received a letter from the city dated January 28, 2009 that under a city ordinance they are prohibited from placing solid waste curbside for collection by the city contractor. The letter goes on to say because it's a residential complex with five or more units, it's responsible for contracting with private solid waste haulers.

Complaints from small businesses that pay the $24 monthly fee but find their garbage collection has been cut off are almost certain to follow.

However, it's late. Even though the reporting on this issue leaves a lot to be desired, I'll have to follow up on this tomorrow or Wednesday. FWIW, the relevant part of the city ordinance that I copied in 2007:
Sec. 138-46. Maximum collections for one establishment.
Not more than 128 gallons of garbage or trash and four standard bundles of tree branches and shrubbery securely tied, with each bundle weighing not more than 25 pounds and measuring not more than four feet in length shall be removed from any one household or small business place, at any one collection. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, garbage and trash shall be placed in not more than four permanent containers, each weighing no more than 75 pounds. Amounts in excess of these quantities shall be removed by the producers thereof.
(Code 1956, § 28-11; M.C.S., Ord. No. 21497, § 1, 5-6-04)

The link that I saved takes you to new code.

Then there are all of those people paying the fee for vacant houses.
For the last two years no one was concerned about sanitation. Then the council decided to make that the focal point for everything wrong with city government. When the mayor presented his first budget there were no cuts in sanitation. The way the city council reacts to issues is the best thing to happen for Ray Nagin since Katrina.
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