Whitehall wants trash cans out of sight

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Whitehall City Council on Oct. 8 discussed ways to keep trash cans out of sight during the week, and how to improve security at city hall.  

In recent weeks Councilman Jim Graham has expressed his concern about trash cans and debris peppered throughout the city somewhere every day.  

Residents are setting trash, yard waste and household debris such as furniture out as they accumulate, rather than waiting until Tuesday  night for Wednesday pickup, the councilman has observed.

He said that there always seems to be some kind of items in almost every neighborhood on a continuous basis. He also noted that there are residents who leave their trash cans at the curb all week, and just keep filling them up.  

Service Director Ray Ogden gave a presentation to council along with copies of an official notice he places on trash cans that have been left at the curb.  

The ordinance says that trash cans and recycling bins should be put out no sooner than sundown on the day before pick-up, and removed by sundown on the pick-up days, which in Whitehall are Tuesday and Wednesday.

Ogden has issued 512 warnings and citations so far this year, and even though that is a small number in comparison to population, it is enough to be a nuisance.  

He’ said he’s heard all the excuses.  If a resident travels for business, or is going to be on vacation, they need to ask a neighbor to take care of their trash.  It can’t bet set out several days ahead just because someone is going on vacation.  

He said that the biggest problem is not the early birds as much as it is people not removing their cans or bins by Wednesday evening, and letting them sit out for several days.

The director pointed out that some of the wording in the ordinance is inadequate for dealing with various problems, and needs to be revised.  He promised council that he would have updated language to propose at the next committee meeting on Oct. 23.  

"I want it to be  uniform, and the same across the board…people taking responsibility," Graham said.    

Council President Brent Howard is worried about the city’s image.  

"I want uniform enforcement, and that won’t be a problem if it has teeth," Howard said.

In other business, Public Safety Officer Ed Rickles forwarded an article from Clarksville, Tenn., where a businessman carried a gun into a council meeting and,  after being denied a request to rezone his home for use as a barber shop, killed himself in front of them.  

Rickles is suggesting metal detectors be placed at all entrances.

Councilman Zach Woodruff, who is finance chairman, wanted to know where the funds would come from, and who would monitor it.  

The mayor’s office and clerk of courts office are the only secured offices in city hall.  They are clustered together.  

At the beginning of Mayor Lynn Ochsendorf’s term in 2004, she had Rickles do a security study.  At that time, he suggested at least locking down the mayor’s and the auditor’s offices, where taxes are collected.  Auditor Kim Maggard chose not to comply.  

The approximate cost is $35,000 for the detectors, and Rickles is working on competitive bids should the city pursue the suggested security measures.

The next council meeting will be Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m.  There will be a public hearing for an ordinance that would authorize submission of application for financial assistance from the Franklin County Housing Community Development and Weatherization Program for funding restroom replacement at Whitehall Community Park.  

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