24-hour rule

Council to vote on trash container ordinance
Thursday, August 9, 2018

Jennings residents may soon be required to remove their waste containers from the street within 24 hours of scheduled collection days.

Jennings City Council members will vote next week on whether to update the city’s garbage, trash and refuse rules.

According to the proposed ordinance, the measure was created to enhance both the safety and enjoyment of its citizens use of streets.

“City officials have recently received reports of solid waste containers being left on city streets after they are emptied on scheduled collection days,” the proposition states. “These containers not only detract from the orderly appearance of the city’s residential neighborhoods, but they also present an impediment and danger to the safe and unobstructed pedestrian and vehicular use of the city’s streets.”

If the ordinance passes, residents will be required to move their trash cans from the street within 24 hours of pickup or be facing written warnings and eventually, fines. For those that don’t comply will receive two written warnings and after each additional violation, a $25 fine will be assessed.

“The ordinance knocks out two birds with one stone,” Jennings Mayor Henry Guinn said. “First off, we have been dealing with an abnormal number of complaints about damage to trash cans, and complaints of containers left in the streets where school buses and other cars can’t pass.”

Guinn also said that stricter rules around waste containers would help save the city money when the time comes to renew the city’s contract for garbage collection.

“We are about to be up for renewal and all these repairs and damages get factored into the cost when renewing our contract for garbage collection,” he said. “This will also be a cost-saving measure for the city and is also an attempt to create safe passage on our roadways.”

Guinn said the containers technically belong to Republic, the city’s trash collection service provider, and damages to the containers could cause rates to rise for customers.

“We keep getting complaints that the containers are getting damaged and we want to keep the cost of operations down for the customer and avoid any increases to a customer’s cost for garage collection services,” he said.

Guinn said that while the city can only ask that the waste containers be removed from city property, which typically includes the median from the street about two feet in or to the utility poles, he encourages citizens to bring the cans back to the residence.

“We are asking residents to bring their trash cans back from the street to their residence, preferably out of sight, but I know we can’t dictate what people do on their own property,” Guinn said.

With the city only having one inspector on staff, some council members have concerns around how the city would enforce the new policy.

“I know enforcement will be tough, but it’s something we can have in our arsenal,” Guinn replied. “With school starting soon, we are trying to make it easier and safer for school buses and other vehicles to pass.”

Dist. A Councilwoman Carolyn Simon said the new policy might cause an inconvenience for those residents who are out of town on vacation for more than a week at a time.

“So when people are out of town on vacation, it will be their responsibility to get their neighbor to bring in their can from the street?” she asked council members at Tuesday’s agenda setting meeting.

“That is why residents will get two warnings before a fine is imposed,” Guinn said. “This is a very simple ordinance and our main goal is to make the streets passable.”

Guinn said the City of Carencro recently successfully implemented similar updates to their garbage collection ordinances. Also, he said that in comparison, many other municipalities in the area have much more stringent rules around waste containers being brought back in in a timely manner.

“This is a very, very relaxed policy comparatively,” he said.

Councilmen will vote on the proposed ordinance at its meeting Tuesday, Aug.14, at 5:30 p.m.