COVINGTON, KY - The City's Solid Waste Division is spearheading a campaign to raise awareness on the role that property owners play in trash management. This month, the City mailed courtesy letters to all Covington landlords to remind them of their responsibility, and benefits, associated with taking an active role in trash management.
The campaign was created to address the increasing amount of citizen calls the City has received in regards to set outs that were presenting both litter and health hazards.
The letter outlines Chapter 95 of the City Code of Ordinances, the governing policy for trash management, to remind both property owners and landlords the importance of their compliance.
Typical scenarios that might attract attention or cause complaints include:
- Trash cans that don't have lids and other neglected trash piles;
- Trash set out on the curbside on non-pick up days;
- Leaving cans out on curbside or not placing them out of sight;
- Bags left curbside and not in containers;
- Excessive and large items set out such as furniture, carpet or mattresses;
- Organic matter that is not bagged or bundled such as tree and yard debris. .
These scenarios create unsightly problems for neighborhoods and create potential health hazards.
Another common complaint occurs when people move out from a property and place their trash in one big pile on the curb.
"In this instance, it's really important that landlords know to make sure their tenants understand the City's trash rules." Says Sheila Fields, Covington's Solid Waste Coordinator.
Businesses are also called upon to take a more active role in trash management. Clean up around dumpsters is expected. Sweeping trash into the street is not acceptable and businesses are encouraged to pick up trash in the front of their place of business on a daily basis, especially if it is in a high traffic area.
In addition to sending out the courtesy letter, DPI's Solid Waste Division is actively working with the City's Legal Department to revise the ordinance so that stronger penalties are incurred if compliance is not met. Currently, the ordinance states that $100 fines can be issued for prohibited trash set outs, but fines can grow to three times that amount if changes are made.
The City wants to remind the public of the essential role they play in the success and health of it's quality of life as they ramp up to stricter enforcement.
Currently, the City's enforcement on these matters has been executed through direct customer service contact by Solid Waste Coordinator Sheila Fields. She reaches out to property owners with phone calls and notices of violation. "but I don't actually cite them." she says, indicating that her efforts stop short of actually fining people. "My focus is on educating our property owners on the importance of trash management so they can adopt the value for themselves; I don't want to financially hurt people because maybe they just need to first understand their role here".
The problem with this approach, she says, is that "'many property owners especially landlords don't inform their tenants of the trash rules , so I looked for a more effective approach."
The City is behind stronger efforts to achieve total compliance with solid waste management.
"A big part of the City's responsibility is to make sure we can provide a certain quality of life here and trash management is a huge factor. We are 100% behind this effort and think it will yield some long-term benefits" says Larry Klein.
From a cost standpoint, it makes sense for the City to enforce its trash management laws. Higher compliance with the law means less maintenance and overtime costs. If the effort fails, the City and ultimately the taxpayer wind up paying more for services.
Youth education and clean-up campaigns are also in the works as part of the trash management campaign.
"Landlords need to know that they have a great responsibility to the City and that when they rent, they need to inform tenants to respect the property, keep it in good condition and follow appropriate trash collection ordinance." Klein says.
Here's how to play your part:
As a friendly reminder:
- Place trash curbside after 6:00 pm the evening before your scheduled collection day. After pick-up, trash cans must be removed from the right of way before noon the next day.
- Containers must be stored in, or as near to, the rear of the property, and out-of-view from the street.
- All containers must have lids to secure the trash and prevent litter from scattering on to streets.
- Containers in excess of 75 pounds will not be picked up. Please be mindful of the weight of your containers.
- Keep your trash collection area and yard clean and free of litter.
- Mattresses and other upholstered furniture must be wrapped in plastic (contact Department of Public Improvements at 859 292 2292 for more information).
- City street trash cans are not permitted to be used for residential or commercial waste disposal.
If residents or businesses have any questions in regards to Trash Management, please call DPI at 859 292 2292.