Bellwood Borough Council looks at trash collection ordinance

Bellwood Borough Council held its reorganization meeting last night prior to the first regular meeting of the year.
Fred Sweigert was elected Council President by a unanimous vote and Sue Johnson will fill the position of Vice President. Newcomer Leonard Cherry will serve as President Pro Temp.
The meeting schedule for 2006 will be the first Monday of each month, with the exception of September, when it will be held on Tuesday. Meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. at the Borough Municipal Building, located at 616 Main Street, next to the library.
At the regular meeting, council members heard concerns from residents during the public comment period. The major issue of concern was proposed changes to an ordinance dealing with trash collection within the borough.
Several trash collectors were in attendance, including current haulers, Dave Burgmeier and Jeff Nagle, along with representatives from Waste Management.
Questions were raised regarding trash collection in the borough after last month’s meeting when council looked at requests for collection and disposal licenses. Currently the borough limits the licenses to two haulers, but began looking at different options for the upcoming year.
Council member Chris Creek wanted to look at not limiting the number of haulers permitted in the borough. His feeling was more haulers could get the job done faster than limiting the number to two or three.
All council members agree the times set up for waste collection would continue to be limited. Currently haulers are permitted to collect on Tuesday and Thursday beginning at 7 a.m. Council agreed to keep this time frame, adding collection must end at 4 p.m. on those specified days.
At the December meeting, council agreed to take bids from haulers in January as scheduled, but not limit the number of licenses issued.
When the discussion was brought up at last night’s meeting, Burgmeier and Nagle voiced their concerns over the changes and Borough Solicitor Lee Oswald shared his thoughts on the matter.
Oswald told council trash collectors are already licensed at the county and state level, so requiring them to be licensed within the borough is really unnecessary. He felt it was redundant to require a license fee at the borough level.
Burgmeier wanted to know what brought about the discussed changes.
Council member Chris Creek said council was uncertain about pending legal issues within the state and they felt the old ordinance left some room for legal action.
“We felt our most vulnerable area was limiting haulers to only two,” said Sweigert of the possibility of legal action.
After much discussion, council members agreed to remove all licensing requirements and fees within the borough. However, haulers will still be asked to fill out a form at the borough office, listing contact information and county permit number.
According to council members, the permit number will be required for the purpose of confirming the haulers in town are licensed by the county and are following county regulations. Each trash collection agency will then be given a copy of the ordinance.
Borough secretary Susan Waite said three collectors had already turned in their licensing fees for 2006 but that money will be returned.
The question of commercial trash collection was also brought up during the discussion. With the ordinance limiting the times trash can be collected, council members were concerned businesses may need trash picked up more than twice a week. In the end, council agreed to the time limit for residential pick-up only, while commercial pick-up will only be restricted from collecting on Sunday.
After the changes discussed last night, council will draft a new amendment to the trash collection ordinance and vote on it at next month’s meeting on February 6.