2017-10-27 / Front Page

Decision on cart stickers put off

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer

The town council has been divided whether to fine homeowners who have placed stickers on town-owned trash and recycling carts, or inherited carts with decals. In the end, the council decided to move ahead with the idea, but not until six months from now.

Per the amendment to the Town of Scarborough Garbage and Recycling and Disposal ordinance, “residents may choose to mark their cart with the street address that the cart was assigned to for identification purposes. Under no other circumstance should the carts be defaced by the use of markers, stickers or paint. A cart that has been defaced will be replaced at cost to the resident to whom the cart was assigned.”

The marking of some carts in town came to the town’s attention after a resident of Pine Point Road reached out to the council about a neighbor who had a Trump bumper sticker on their trash cart. The matter was brought to the ordinance committee and, after a first reading and public hearing earlier this fall, the change was made by the council Oct. 18 by a 4-3 vote, with Katy Foley, Peter Hayes and Kate St. Clair opposed.

Councilor Chris Caiazzo said he supported the measure because the carts are town-owned property and shouldn’t be defaced in any way. He said a complete ban of cart decoration, aside from listing a house address, is needed so the council isn’t put in a position of determining what is appropriate and what is not.

Councilor Bill Donovan, who chairs the ordinance committee, said such a ban is becoming more and more common in other parts of the country. He said not including the provision in the original ordinance was an oversight.

“I understand the reasoning behind this and respect the fact the carts are town property, but I can’t support this due to the fact there is no grandfathering and we are punishing those people that have inherited the carts with the stickers on them,” St. Clair said.

Foley said by making the change, the town council is “going down a road that is unnecessary.”

Hayes said he has spoken to many people and none have brought cart stickers up as an issue. Scarborough Public Works Director Mike Shaw told the Leader last month his office doesn’t get many calls about cart decoration. The questions that public works does receive are about ownership of the cart and what happens to them when a homeowner moves away.

Hayes said it will cost the town more to enforce the ordinance than it does to replace the stickered carts.

“I think this is an overreach,” he said, adding he felt the town should let residents do what they want with the carts so long as when they move they pass on a clean cart to the next homeowner.

Placing stickers on trash and recycling carts has been something some residents have been doing for years as a way to help differentiate their carts from their neighbors, especially in neighborhoods where the carts are clustered together for pickup.

Council Chairman Shawn Babine supported the change, but made a motion to delay the implementation of the ordinance for six months so Shaw and Town Manager Tom Hall can address some of the lingering questions and concerns and residents have a chance to remove stickers or markings on the carts. The six-month moratorium was supported unanimously by town councilors.

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at news@scarboroughleader.com.

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