New ordinance stiffens penalties for not having garbage service

Published 7:29 pm Monday, December 18, 2017

The Selma City Council voted last week to update the city’s garbage ordinance in an effort to fix a growing problem in the city that could lead to health issues if it isn’t solved.

“With all of this garbage around here, it’s really a quality of life issue,” said Council President Corey Bowie. “It’s imperative that we get this problem under control and continue to address the problem until our city is clean and beautiful.”

City ordinance requires all households sign up for garbage service, which is through Sea Coast Disposal. Section 13-20 of the city’s garbage ordinance lists a minimum fine of $50 for not participating or maintaining garbage service and a maximum fine of $200. A violation of the city’s garbage ordinance is also considered a misdemeanor crime.

A new paragraph was added to that section last week when the council adopted the new ordinance.

The old ordinance said “each day’s violation shall constitute a separate offense and shall be punished accordingly,” but it did not go into details. The new ordinance appears to explain that part of the code.

“Any person, household, firm or company violating section 13-3, mandatory participation, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined $200 for the first offense,” the new ordinance reads.

“Each separate and additional offenses after the first offense shall be treated as separate offenses and punishable, upon conviction, by a fine of $200 for each offense.”

Bowie said with the update of the ordinance, the city is working harder to try to alleviate its garbage issues.

“We’ve been talking about getting an environmental court, and we also have a new code enforcement officer, so it’s going to be all parties working together to try to rectify the situation,” Bowie said.

“It has become a big problem, and now it’s having more of an adverse effect. When our trucks go pick up trash and they have garbage in with it, they can’t take that to the landfill. If we take it to the landfill, we’re jeopardizing being cited, so that’s a problem we’re trying to curb also.”

Bowie said Sea Coast provided updated numbers Monday of the number of paying and delinquent customers. According to the numbers provided to Bowie, there are 2,432 paying customers and 896 that are nonpaying.

Bowie said Sea Coast has agreed to provide the city’s code enforcement department with a list of customers that are not paying.

Bowie said garbage isn’t just a health issue in Selma, but it’s also an appearance issue. He said it is hard to recruit new industries when there is garbage carelessly dumped on the side of the road.

“We’re just asking the citizens if they will to work with the city,” Bowie said. “Let’s work together to have a clean and beautiful city.”