Laurens City Council last night took action to resolve a problem with the 2008 Solid Waste Ordinance. Many people are not paying the $11 a month garbage collection fee. Council hopes that an ordinance amending the existing ordinance will set things right.
The major change in the trash ordinance is the ability for city residents to opt out of the $11 monthly fee for city trash service. It’s simple really. Beginning soon, trash and leaves and limbs will only be collected from households that are current on paying their monthly collection fees.
Residents who wish to have a private contractor collect their garbage or who want to haul it away themselves will have the option to come to City Hall and sign a form which will remove their obligation to pay the $11 fee each month. That same form also removes the obligation of the city to pick up their trash.
Further, if someone does not sign the form but also does not pay the required fee, the city has the right to suspend their trash service.
The amendment requires two readings before becoming effective. It did pass by unanimous vote last night. Mayor Sharon Brownlee said it would probably be February or March before the ordinance was fully implemented. She also pointed out that private contractors generally charge significantly more than $11 each month and their service does not include picking up limbs, leaves or other debris.
One interesting side note: If trash service is suspended, residents can be fined under existing ordinances if trash piles up and is not removed in a timely fashion. And once a residence has their service suspended whether voluntarily or by action of the city, a $35 reinstatement fee along with 100% of any outstanding trash collection fees would be required if they wished to have the city begin providing the service again.