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Council finally OKs new trash legislation

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

After months of discussion, Van Wert City Council finally adopted legislation adding new trash regulations within the city.

Van Wert Councilman At-Large Don Farmer makes a point during discussion of an amendment expanding a prohibition against trash sitting out more than two days to the full front yard of a property. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Council unanimously adopted four ordinances that would limit the number of days trash can be sitting in front of a city residence or business. In addition, Councilman At-Large Don Farmer successfully requested an amendment to one of the ordinances that would expand the area included under the two-day prohibition from a more lenient 20 feet from the street right-of-way to the entire front yard of city residences and businesses.

The amendment was sought after local resident Kevin Bair complained about a dumpster sitting in the front yard of an apartment complex across from his residence on North Jefferson Street. Although Council members agreed the dumpster was an eyesore — and violated the intent of the ordinances, which is to prohibit trash from sitting in front of residences for days at a time — it was also discovered that the location of the dumpster complied with the proposed ordinances’ prohibition against trash receptacles being within 20 feet of the right-of-way.

That’s when Farmer announced he would submit an amendment that would widen the area covered by the ordinances. Although there was some discussion of the proposed amendment, Council members agreed that the front yard designation was needed to fulfill the intent of the legislation.

Also per a discussion of the matter during a Judiciary and Annexation Committee meeting prior to Council’s regular meeting, civil penalties were also approved for violators of the trash ordinances. Offenders would be fined $75 for violations, which would increase to $150 for those who failed to pay within 10 days.

Water and Sewer Committee Chair Jon Tomlinson discusses a proposed utility fee increase. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

In addition to the trash measures, City Council also approved a couple of end-of-the-year housekeeping financial measures, including a series of transfers and supplemental appropriations designed to balance the budget prior to the end of the year.

Council also voted to prepare an ordinance that will increase water and sewer rates 5 percent in 2012. Safety-Service Director Jay Fleming said the increase was needed because of increasing water and wastewater costs, adding that the hike would only amount to $2.16 a month for the average city utility customer.

The measure will be read two more times before it comes up for passage during the final meeting of the year on December 28.

City Council also approved on third and final reading the city’s temporary appropriations measure, which would run from January 1-March 31, 2012, and also unanimously adopted an ordinance establishing standards for the oversight and permitting of small wind energy systems within the city.

POSTED: 11/29/11 at 6:11 am. FILED UNDER: News