RAWLINS – Up to nine sections found in Title 8, a municipal code that highlights health and safety regulations in Rawlins, are potentially one step closer to being amended.
On Tuesday, city representatives spent an entire hour-long workshop session addressing specific language found in each one of these sections, which includes various stipulations on public and commercial refuse procedures.
What seemingly drew some of the most attention was how the city’s going to regulate and enforce acceptable garbage bag sizes, trash container lid requirements and container condemnation timelines.
According to language currently found in Sec. 8.08.160, “All household and commercially generated solid waste” shall be placed in secured bags. In addition, those bags are required to be “suitable for storage.”
Councilman Aaron Durst, who in recent memory first introduced these topics for public debate, asked fellow councilmembers what actually qualifies as suitable for storage.
“Is City Market or Walmart bags acceptable?” Durst noted in a paper packet listing all the sections he called into question. “City Market bags blow easily and blow during garbage dump.”
In response, Mayor Steve Nicholson expressed concern with such regulations posing too much overreach, saying bag size requirements may affect less physically capable residents.
“Think about the older people in our community,” Nicholson said.
But an influx of small plastic, makeshift trash bags fluttering loosely about in Rawlins, according to some residents, is part of the city’s overall trash problem.
And while lids are currently required to “remain closed at all times,” while the gross weight of all containers intended to be manhandled and its contents “shall not exceed 80 pounds,” enforcement has been lax.
Even when reports of people placing trash bags next to garbage containers because they’re too full are confirmed, there is no language found in Title 8 that highlights how the city will reprimand violators.
“How many days can someone go without closing the dumpster,” Durst notes in the report. “What is our course of action for a business to comply?”
Councilman DeBari Martinez said that, before the city decides to either strike or add language to this section, these municipal laws be enforced by people calling in potential violators.
“We have that ordinance for that reason,” he said, “so they can’t do that.”
But, according to Rose Cain, owner of local refuse company Dirty Boyz Sanitation Inc., the city would likely be inundated with calls, especially when, on average, a local household produces 125 pounds of garbage a week.
“On average we’ve got 30 or 40 customers a day,” Cain said of the potential violators. “So you’ll be getting 30 or 40 calls a day.”
In addition, Nicholson pointed out that enforcing minor infractions may be wasteful.
“We don’t want to pay a guy going up and down the street looking at trash cans,” he said.
In addition to residential and commercial requirements regarding trash disposal, the city also looks to strike language in Title 8 regarding trash collections.
Specifically, found in Sec. 8.08.340, it states that haulers are required to notify the city manager a month in advance “in the event that a hauler intends to change fees or service.”
City representatives came to a consensus that this regulation infringed on the financial interests of refuse services and that the language should be stricken off the record.
After addressing other current sections in place that may need amending, including whether residents are responsible for maintaining landscaping on boulevards and alleyways, city representatives later approved during the regular council meeting the second reading of amending Title 8.
Once amendments are finalized, the Rawlins Times will provide an exact list of the new regulations.