Greensboro has backed off implementing a $25 fine for having garbage cans on the street for more than 24 hours, which is good because there appears to be a lot of misinformation about the ordinance the city plans to enforce.

Field Operations Director Julio Delgado said that there would be a 120-day moratorium on fining residents $25 for having their garbage and recycling cans on the street for more than 24 hours at the Thursday, June 30 City Council work session.

Delgado said, “The intent of this program is not to punish people.  It’s not to go against a person who puts their trash can out five or six hours before because they have to go to work.”

Delgado said that the 120-day moratorium was needed for an education program for residents.

From what Delgado said, what councilmembers said during the work session and the information provided by the city, it appears some education is needed for the city staff and City Council on the ordinance that the city is planning to enforce with a $25 fine.

The city ordinance Chapter 25, Article II, Sec. 25-13 (d) “Removal of containers following collection” states, “(1) All containers or carriers placed on any street to be emptied shall, within twelve (12) hours after the contents thereof are emptied and collected, be removed from such street to rear of the premises by the owner or occupant of the premises …”

The ordinance does not state that the garbage and recycling containers have to be removed from the street by 7 p.m. on the day of collection.  In fact, to be in compliance with the ordinance, very few containers would have to be removed from the street by 7 p.m. If the containers were not emptied until 3 p.m. then, according to the ordinance, the resident would not be required to have those containers off the street until 3 a.m. the following day.

As far as placing the garbage and recycling containers on the street for pick-up, the ordinance does not state, as the city has said, that they cannot be placed on the street before 7 p.m. the day before the scheduled collection day.

The ordinance states, “25-13. (a) Solid waste shall not be placed at the curbside prior to the day preceding the scheduled collection day.”

It also states, “(d) (2) No solid waste containers or any form of movable carriers shall be placed, kept or left on any street for any purpose whatsoever on Saturday or before dusk on Sunday.”

So, according to the ordinance, if the collection day is Tuesday, the containers could be place on the street at any time on Monday and would not have to be removed from the street until 12 hours after they are emptied.  Of course, unless a city garbage can roll back inspector happened to be at a residence when the containers were emptied, they would have no way of knowing exactly what the deadline was for removal from the street.