By Joshua Winata
The Cove Herald
Revisions to the city’s solid waste ordinance, adopted at last Tuesday’s council meeting, aim to make the collections process easier and more efficient.
“We’re just trying to add more detail and make it easier for the citizens to understand what the criteria are,” Solid Waste Superintendent Michael Mundell said.
Last revised in 2000 when the city began automated collection, ordinance amendments this time have an eye toward better customer service, effective use of equipment and maintenance of the neighborhood streets.
“Although the basics of it are still the same, some of the subprocesses have changed over the years,” Mundell said. “It’s become a little bit more refined.”
Some of the biggest changes to affect solid waste customers relates to brush and bulk collections.
The size limitations on free biweekly brush collection have been reduced from seven cubic yards to three. Additional brush waste will be charged at a rate of $6 per cubic yard. Brush will no longer be accepted at the solid waste transfer station.
Originally offered for do-it-yourself homeowners, brush collection has too frequently been abused by contractors who leave piles of yard refuse on the curb. These large loads take up a disproportionate amount of time and labor to clear, taking away from other residential customers and taxing city equipment.
The code has also been amended to require nurserymen, tree surgeons and other independent contractors who cut or trim trees and shrubs to register their business with the city.
“It’s turned into a situation where contractors are taking down trees and putting them on the curb,” Mundell said. “It’s to ensure everyone gets the service in a timely fashion.”
According to the new ordinances, yard waste must be placed at least four feet away from any obstacles, including the roll-out trash container, power lines or low-hanging tree limbs so as not to interfere with automated collection.
A new fee, at a rate of $18 for three cubic yards and $6 for every additional cubic yard, will also be assessed for bulky items, or waste that will not fit into city’s residential trash containers, such as furniture, or bundles heavier than 40 pounds. Fees will also be charged for the collection of white goods, or appliances such as stoves, water heaters and refrigerators, but they will still be accepted at the transfer station free of change.
The new rates will help cover city expenses, which have averaged about $42,673 per year since 2003. This year, the city projects spending more than $50,000 on bulky waste disposal, but revenues for the new fees are estimated at $68,000. However, those numbers are expected to decrease as more people become familiar with the new policy.
In addition to the financial benefits, Mundell said the new regulations will also keep the neighborhood streets looking clean and uncluttered.
“People can’t just stack stuff out at the curb because they’ll have to pay for it,” he said.
Other changes include:
Requiring a deposit of $35 for residential accounts and $60 for commercial accounts
Restricting the parking of boats, trailers, cars and other vehicles on the curb on scheduled collection days
Increasing the missed service fee to $10
Requiring the owner or property manager of an eight plex or above to pay for solid waste services and all associated charges
Charging a $7.50 fee for removal of a trash container from the curb after collection,
Increasing the uncovered load fee from $3 to $12,
Improving the definition of bulky waste, construction waste and excess garbage and outlining prohibited materials,
Charging a service fee of $15 to send a city employee to find a lost container.
The city will offer a three-month assimilation period to ease the transition and advertise the changes. The complete ordinance with all the revisions will be available for review online at www.ci.copperas-cove.tx.us.
Contact Joshua Winata at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7476.