Proposed trash ordinance in line with trends

The Emmett City Council will continue hearing public input at its Jan. 14 meeting regarding a proposed change in the manner in which Emmett Sanitation is contracted to collect trash in the city.

The hearing will begin at 7 p.m. at the beginning of the regular council meeting. At the center of the discussion is a proposed limiting of trash receptacles to a few standardized sizes and consistent construction.

Residents would no longer have to provide their own variety of trash cans but would be compelled to utilize receptacles provided and maintained for a fee by Emmett Sanitation. That fee would be incorporated into the restructured monthly fees already assessed citizens by the City of Emmett for the collection services currently provided by Emmett Sanitation.

A Dec. 17 hearing was continued until this month in part to research some legal questions that were raised during the original hearing. A question was raised as to the legal right a municipality would have in deeming a service and or product mandatory for all citizens. City attorney Jake Sweeten is expected to share his findings next week.

Wording in the existing code in Emmett, and mirrored by the codes of numerous other municipalities in southwestern Idaho, appear to establish a long-standing precedent on that question.

The code as currently exists under 4-3-6-2B:

“Use of System Required: Every owner and occupant of premises within prescribed corporate limits of the City must use the refuse collection and disposal system herein provided and shall deposit or cause to be deposited in accordance with this regulation all rubbish and garbage that is of such a nature that it is perishable or may decompose, or may be scattered by wind or otherwise, which is accumulated on such premises; provided, that in sparsely populated areas of the City where the collection of garbage and refuse on the schedules hereinafter set forth would be impracticable, the City Council may issue a special permit altering the time and extent of collection.”

The question currently before the council is an alteration of that code to limit the variety of refuse collection containers to a set series of styles and sizes. The use of two standardized residential sizes, a 64 gallon and a 94 gallon wheeled-cart, would allow greater efficiency for the collection service. It would match the container features with the automated lift features on the trucks, saving time and money.

Cost to the residents would change depending on the number receptacles needed. Most residents would likely be able to easily manage their weekly refuse in a single bin of either size, according to Emmett Sanitation. In many cases the single container could be replacing any number of much smaller and uncovered receptacles that residents currently must provide at their own costs.

Current Base Fee: $11.81 Residential, $23.81 Commercial

Cart Rental + Tax: $2.18 + $.13 tax= $2.31 per month

Total proposed charge per month: $14.12 Residential, $26.12 Commercial

If adopted by the council, the new program would be phased in over the next year with newer subdivisions likely to be the first to convert to the new system. Older portions of town, particularly those with current sanitation service through an alley access, would be the last to be converted.

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