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Macy proposes solid waste ordinance

BY Paige Conley - pconley@perutribune.com

It was a full house Tuesday night during Macy’s Town Council monthly meeting during which the council discussed the newly proposed Solid Waste Ordinance.

The ordinance was prepared by Peru attorney Bryce Runkle, who stated its basic purpose is to get residents to dispose of their trash in a landfill.

“An ordinance establishing the safe, orderly and economic collection and removal of accumulated waste, and providing for the disposal of solid waste in safe and sanitary methods and in compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations of the state of Indiana,” stated information from the Solid Waste Ordinance.

The ordinance is a direct result of complaints from Macy residents to the town council.

“The thing that started this whole process of this ordinance was that this spring, we had so many complaints from the townspeople,” said Macy Town Council President Marilyn Jackson. “They would catch us at the post office, they would call us on the phone and they would gripe about the trash in this town and that’s what started it.”

The ordinance would require Macy residents to pay $12 along with an additional $1 service fee per month for a contracted collection service the entire town would use.

There are several stipulations in the ordinance including mandate stating trash must be household garbage waste only with no bulk or hazardous materials, trash must be no heavier than 40 pounds per bag, and residents can no longer keep trash in their yards.

If there is trash in a resident’s yard, they will receive a notice from Macy’s Chief Elected Official, Jackson, who would provide them with anywhere from 10 to 30 days to get their yard in compliance with the ordinance.

“By statute, they can’t give you more than 30 days to bring your property in compliance,” Runkle said.

If residents fail to comply, they’ll be charged a fine of $250; an amount some Macy residents found too excessive.

The council received many concerns and questions about the ordinance from residents who were trying to understand it.

While some were in favor of the ordinance, including those residents who had an infestation of rats in their yard from neighboring houses whose trash was piled in their yard, other residents weren’t keen on the idea for different reasons.

Several residents had questions about their current private trash service provider who they have already paid a year in advance. According to Runkle, residents are more than welcome to use their own trash service provider, but they’ll still be required to pay $13 a month.

“So we’re paying for something that we’re not even going to be getting,” said a Macy resident. “You’re going to be charging me for services not rendered? How legal is that?”

Another resident, Jake Thompson, questioned why Macy needed a solid waste ordinance in the first place.

“Do we make that much waste,” Thompson asked. “We’ve got bigger issues than our trash.”

According to Runkle, many small towns such as Macy have ordinances like the one the council is proposing and it’s in their right to do so.

“The ordinance can be worked out if the community talks to the board,” said Macy Town Councilwoman Michelle Hoffman. “That’s why we’re having this meeting, so we can all talk it out.”

The council is considering several amendments proposed from residents including a 30 to 60 day waiver in special circumstances for residents who need more time getting their yard in order once they’ve been hit with a notice.

“I think most people in this room would appreciate it,” said Macy resident Ron Manning.

Residents like Laura Runkle are questioning why the town isn’t relying on Miami County for assistance with the waste issue.

Prior to the meeting, Runkle stated she contacted Miami County Zoning Administrator Tammy Gamble as well as Miami County Commissioners Larry West and Josh Francis who all three reportedly said Macy could clean up the town and follow through with it in the county.

“This is not a necessity,” Laura Runkle said. “Our town should be able to come together and help each other out. We don’t need an ordinance.”

Jackson didn’t sympathize with Laura’s sentiment as she explained the lack of assistance the town of Macy has received from Miami County including help fixing the main strip of road that runs through town.

Another resident, Allison Rice, expressed her lack of response from county officials when she was dealing with the rats in her yard.

“My experience with the county is they hardly ever answer your call,” Rice said.

Even with the council’s willingness to hear amendments for the ordinance, some residents still find the additional bill an expense they can’t afford at the moment.

“As a community, as a whole, there are many people who do not feel like it’s a necessity,” Laura Runkle said.

The council didn’t make any further decisions on the ordinance and are giving residents time to think about it. The council decided to revisit the ordinance at a later date.