ST. ALBANS CITY — The city council continued hauling through revisions to its proposed trash ordinance at the council’s special meeting Monday night.
The ordinance’s sharpest, or at least most outspoken, critic, councilor Jim Pelkey, was not in attendance. But Pelkey’s fellow councilors asked several questions and offered suggestions in his absence.
Councilor Chad Spooner made many of those.
The ordinance, as drafted, prohibits use of uncovered bins.
“What if we have a bin,” Spooner asked, “but we just leave the top open all the time?”
City Manager Dominic Cloud read the ordinance’s specific language: “All containers should be covered.”
The council seemed to agree that covered it.
Spooner asked if some portion of the ordinance concerned the possibility of recycled paper flying from the back of a hauler’s vehicle. Spooner said he once saw a hauler pick up a load of recycled paper, and much of that load swiftly end up gone with the wind.
Cloud said a call to the hauler might be the best remedy in situations like that.
The Mayor himself, Tim Smith, asked whether the ordinance should define “bins,” since the ordinance defines “totes” as the larger trash receptacles with wheels for transportation and a hinged lid.
Smith asked if the ordinance’s “bins” were the same as the “blue recycle bins” in the city offices.
Cloud replied, “Maybe.”
He asked if councilors felt the ordinance needed to define “bins,” leading to a seemingly profound question from the Mayor.
Smith asked, “Is a bin anything less than a tote?”
Spooner offered a practical response: that, as far as he’s concerned, a bin could even be a clear plastic tote with a snap top on it.
“As long as the top’s on it, I don’t care,” Spooner said.
Councilor Kate Laddison noted the council discussed eliminating the word “bins” from the ordinance during the council’s last discussion. But Cloud reminded her of Pelkey’s insistence that if uncovered bins are prohibited, the ordinance should clearly say so.
“If Jim felt strongly about that, he’d be here,” Smith quipped, to laughs from the councilors — who then went on trying to define bins.
Laddison asked if bins are the “blue things.”
Cloud said, “Isn’t a bin anything other than a tote that’s used to contain trash and recyclables?”
The council pondered without conclusion.
Spooner moved that the council adopt the first read of the solid waste ordinance “to include the definition of a bin.” Councilor Mike McCarthy seconded.
The motion carried.
The ordinance will require a second reading before taking affect.
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