North Providence Councilors target surprising loophole in trash rules

North Providence Councilors target surprising loophole in trash rules

Councilors Ken Amoriggi, Steven DiLorenzo and Council President Dino Autiello

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Town Council members were inspecting the town’s ordinances on trash disposal last week when they heard a shocker: The town doesn’t require residents to put trash in barrels when placing it curbside.

Councilor Ken Amoriggi said he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. In the many months the town has been debating what can be done to clean up and cut off food sources for rats, no one has brought up the fact that the town doesn’t even require that trash be put in a barrel, said Amoriggi.

The councilman said a change to require all residents to place their trash inside barrels will be one recommendation he sees coming out of the Town Council’s ordinance subcommittee, and he doesn’t see a reason why it won’t become the rule across town.

“That’s a definite,” he said.

Other restrictions, such as boosting fines for violations, will be hammered out through the committee process, said Amoriggi, but this one seems like a good start.

Councilor Steven DiLorenzo said he was shocked to learn from Recycling Coordinator Bob Nascimento that town ordinances allow residents to place garbage bags on the curb, minus a barrel.

“I was very surprised to hear that,” he said.

Council President Dino Autiello said he, too, was surprised to see the wording after taking part in so many discussions on how to better contain the town’s trash and reduce its rodent population over the past two years.

“I’m glad Bob was there,” he said.

The town’s code of ordinances on trash reads as follows:

“The town shall provide for the collection of garbage and refuse once a week from the residents of dwellings with one to four units. Said materials shall be placed at the curbside of the sidewalk abutting the real estate of each resident from whom said materials originate. No bags or containers shall be placed on the curb more than 24 hours before the scheduled day of trash pick-up except in weeks in which there is a holiday that alters the normally scheduled day of pick-up.”

Because the wording allows bags to be placed without a container, the first priority is to get the ordinance changed to ban putting bags directly on the ground, said DiLorenzo. The situation with messy streets and rats should immediately improve, he said.

“All of a sudden, now you won’t have as much of a problem,” he said.

Once the town is able to enforce the rule on bins, said DiLorenzo, he would like to see a part-time employee, for lack of a better term, the “trash police,” hired to cite violators. Officials can’t hold people accountable for rules that don’t exist yet, he said.

DiLorenzo said he’s seen up to 10 people in his neighborhood using no trash cans, and always assumed they were violating local laws. Enacting a new law on trash bins will be “a beginning,” with a purchase of wheeled trash totes for all residents the eventual goal. He said he’s seeing more support than ever on the council for a new automated trash program with the wheeled totes. The initiative should be a significant topic of conversation during upcoming budget talks.

“I think everyone’s on the same page at this point,” said DiLorenzo.

Council members are planning extensive discussions on the idea of buying wheeled totes, and will seek bids incorporating both 95-gallon and 65-gallon barrels.

Ordinance Committee Chairman Manny Giusti said the committee voted last Thursday to have Nascimento go through all ordinances on trash collection and proposed changes to it in time for next month’s meeting of the committee.

Also last Thursday, the ordinance committee sent a letter to Chief of Police David Tikoian asking for his opinion on whether an overnight prohibition against parking on town streets for more than an hour should be repealed.

Comments

With all the talk about the trash and rats, how could no one know about this ordinance? The powers that be need to do their homework. In terms of ordinances, what is the solution if off the street parking is not an option for some residents and the ordinance is enforced; move out of town?!