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Large trash items becoming a big problem

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

Replacing old furniture and appliances with new ones is an exciting process – unless of course you’re in charge with picking up the old ones.

Large trash items being left for city workers to pick up became a big topic of discussion for the New Castle Board of Public Works and Safety Monday morning. Street Supt. Lee Walker reported some local landlords were trying to take advantage of the city services by leaving large used items out for local crews to pick up.

“It clearly states in the ordinance owner-occupied residences only,” Walker said. “We’ve got some residences that are rental properties where the landlord has figured out the system and we’re actually picking up clean outs but he’s doing it three pieces at a time. Last week he got pretty heated over that situation. Should we enforce the ordinance?”

Both City Attorney David Copenhaver and Mayor Greg York referenced a current city ordinance which stipulates large trash items are only to be picked up at “owner-occupied” residences – and only one time per month.

“We enforce it like the ordinance says and if they get irate about, we take the police back with them,” York said. “We have the building inspector’s office write them a letter.”

“So if somebody there is renting,” Director of Public Works Dave Barker asked, “and they want to set out one or two pieces, we’re not supposed to pick it up? Half the town is rentals.”

“That’s why I’m asking,” Walker said.

“I am confident that was done that way to prevent the city from being responsible for clean outs,” Copenhaver said. “You have to follow the ordinance, you can’t be picking and choosing.”

“What we’re trying to eliminate is up here on Main Street, the whole block they moved out and the whole block was lined up with items. Obviously the whole block was a move out,” York said.

“And we’re running into that a lot,” Walker said.

Officials said it seems to be that time of year where people “hopscotch around” after the rent comes due and they can’t pay it, so they move out.

York said it’s a longstanding problem.

“We can’t get past somebody buying a new TV and setting the old one out,” he said. “We don’t take TVs period but we can’t seem to get through to them we don’t.”

Old televisions can be dropped off at the Henry County Solid Waste Management District office on Broad Street for just $5.

Walker said afterward when new items are purchased, property owners should have the business where they were purchased take care of disposing the old ones.

“If you buy new furniture from a local furniture store, I called them, they still take away the old furniture,” Walker said. “Let them take it away. Let them pay for the disposal vs. the city. Just because the city will doesn’t mean we need to if it’s a situation where a local furniture store will dispose of the items. Even if an out-of-town furniture store comes and delivers you a new living room set and they’ll take your old one away, let them take it away.”

York and Walker said the overall appearance of the city is their primary concern.

“What we’re trying to eliminate is that half-block long of the move out loading up the whole sidewalk,” York said. “We’ve got to keep the sidewalks clean. But what we’re trying to do is eliminate a half a city block full of carpet and mattresses.”

“I want the city of New Castle to look as clean as I can absolutely make it,” Walker said. “I don’t want stuff cluttered. I don’t want the town to look bad.”