ShareThis Page

Jeannette 'City' garbage bag compliance increases, but opposition remains

| Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, 9:02 p.m.
Jeannette City Council members Bill Bedont, Mark Clark, Mayor Robert Carter, Dr. Mark Levander and Kathie Tanyer planned to vote to put the city's recycling contract out to bid at last night's voting meeting. Kristie Linden | The Jeannette Spirit

While the majority of residents are using the city-required black garbage bags that are stamped with ‘City of Jeannette,' some residents still oppose the bags altogether.

Monday night, during the workshop session, councilman Mark Levander said compliance has been very good but, “there are a couple of issues. We haven't written citations yet, but we need to decide what to do citation-wise.”

Council expected to hear from some of the residents opposed to the ordinance during last night's voting meeting, which ended too late for this week's edition.

One of those residents has created a petition online to garner support and to ask City Council to repeal the ordinance requiring the use of city-issued garbage bags.

City solicitor Scott Avolio said that according to third-class city code, such a petition may have needed to be filed within 10 days of council's vote to approve the ordinance. The ordinance was approved last fall. Avolio said he was researching that requirement as he wasn't clear on the dates. Avolio also said the petition must contain only the names of registered voters who live in the City of Jeannette and that the petition needs at least 20 percent of the number of voters who voted in the last mayoral election in the city in order to be considered.

Avolio said he believes it is within the city's authority, as outlined in the third-class city code, to require garbage bags and added, “Additionally, this garbage bag increases recycling, which we are required to do by the DEP.”

Frequently at issue in the garbage bag debate has been a lack of formal notification given to all city residents that the bags were required.

“While it's a nice courtesy to do that in situations that affect each homeowner, it's not incumbent that every resident be personally notified. There is some obligation by residents to take interest in their local government. Ordinances are posted legally before adoption, that is your notice,” said Avolio.

The solicitor referred to the ordinance council passed a few years ago banning farm animals from within city limits.

“The city didn't write a letter to every resident stating that if you have a farm animal, you have to get rid of it. It's how government runs,” Avolio said.

Residents opposed to the garbage bag ordinance have also spoken out on the quality of the bags and how much refuse they can hold.

City officials have said an option for some residents might be to recycle more items to decrease the amount that needs to go into the bags each week.

Residents can put newspapers, clear glass and aluminum cans out at the curb for recycling pick-up. Other items can be recycled by dropping them off at the city garage on North Fourth Street.

Items that can be recycled at the garage include: aluminum beverage cans, aluminum food cans and lids, brown glass containers, clear glass containers, corrugated cardboard, gift boxes, magazines, metal paint cans, paper, motor oil, newspapers, paper bags, paperboard, shredded paper, steel cans and lids. Electrical devices, such as televisions, can also be dropped off at the garage for disposal.

Rich Ault, city foreman, said the paper and newspaper recycling are housed inside the garage, other items can be deposited into large Dumpster-like containers outside the facility.

During Monday's council meeting, Ault asked council to put the city's recycling contract out to bid because he feels the city could earn more money for the items that are recycled.

Potential fines range from $300 to $1,000 for residents who don't use the city-issued bags.

The city-issued bags are now on sale at the city treasurer's office in City Hall and at Duncan True Value Hardware on Lowry Avenue. The bags are black with a white logo and will hold 32 gallons of garbage. Cost is $6.50 for a roll of 25 bags.

Council expects the bags to generate around $65,000 in revenues in 2013.

Duncan True Value Hardware is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The city is seeking other business to sell the bags. Interested business owners should contact City Hall at 724-527-4000.

Kristie Linden is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at klinden@tribweb.com or 724-838-5154.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.