A new trash pick-up ordinance was passed with a 6-2 vote by the Town Council on Oct. 11 following a public hearing. The ordinance was drafted after several complaints were made about noise in the middle of the night caused by garbage removal trucks.
Councilor Cheryl Lounsbury, who also serves as chair of the ordinance committee, said that a gentleman’s handshake happened last fall when all of the trash hauling companies met with the committee and the town attorney Mark Sciota. The unofficial agreement was made with the understanding that haulers had to refrain from collecting until after 5 a.m.
With complaints still coming to the police department, town hall, and town council, an ordinance was finally drafted. “We tried 150 percent to work without an ordinance, but it doesn’t seem to be working,” Lounsbury said. “The committee voted unanimously for this ordinance, so that is what’s in front of you tonight.”
The ordinance states that trash-haulers are prohibited from collecting trash before 5 a.m. in residential areas. Police have the right to ticket any company that is on a residential street earlier than this time. In the event of a holiday week or a severe stormed called by the national weather service, the ordinance will be suspended for companies to meet deadlines.
Before the ordinance was passed, police had no leverage when addressing residents’ concerns. “The problem with not having an ordinance is that the police have no teeth,” Lounsbury said. She told the audience that the primary reason for this ordinance is to give the police something to work with when calls come in about the disruptions.
Owners of HQ Dumpsters and Recycling spoke against this ordinance during the hearing. They believe that being on the road once busses and school children are out is dangerous, and the added traffic hinders their accessibility to the dumpsters.
HQ’s Kurt Holyst spoke to the council about the company’s diligence for recycling and being environmentally friendly. “Yes the trucks may make noise, but I’m proud to say we’re saving the environment.”
Councilors Dawn Miceli and John Barry voted against the ordinance, feeling that it contributes to the over-regulation of businesses.
“I don’t think it is something that we should really be doing in the economy that we have today,” Barry said at the Sept. 12 meeting. He proceeded to vote “no” on Oct. 11, and later said, “Any regulation impacts small businesses.”
“I don’t think it’s unreasonable,” said Council chair Michael Riccio. “This council is extremely pro-business, but we have to balance the residents and businesses.”
The effective date for this ordinance is Wednesday, Nov. 2.