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Spencer sets $25 fine for leaving garbage can at curb

By Emily Ford

eford@salisburypost.com
SPENCER — In Spencer, leaving a garbage cart at the curb too long or storing it in plain sight could cost you $25.
The Board of Aldermen Tuesday night passed an amendment to the town’s ordinance by a vote of 5-1, with David Smith opposing.
Before the vote, resident W.F. Owens chided the board for considering fining people “for garbage carts that you pushed on us.”
“I think some of you all have gone down the wrong road,” Owens said. “Elected officials are supposed to be public servants, not public masters.”
The town switched from backyard garbage pick-up to rollout carts last year to save money.
Lately, more and more residents are leaving their big, green rollout carts at the curb for days, Alderman Reid Walters said last month when board members debated the proposed fine.
“I do have a problem with people leaving garbage cans on the street,” Walters said in response to Owens’ statement.
Walters said he has seen as many as 50 carts in the street on the weekend around town.
Mayor Pro Tem Jim Gobbel pointed out that disabled and elderly residents always have had the option to calling the town and requesting backyard pick-up.
Alderman Scott Benfield said the amended ordinance, which bans garbage carts at the curb on Saturdays and Sundays, makes an exception for people with Monday pick-up. They can out their trash out Sunday evenings.
The new rules say residents may place their cart at the street after dusk the night before pick-up and must have the container removed from the curb and “out of sight, where possible” by midnight on collection day.
Aldermen also passed an ordinance Tuesday that requires organizers of festivals and special events on town property to apply for a permit at least 60 days before the event.
The town has had several instances where groups hosting a Saturday festival have shown up at Town Hall on Friday afternoon to request a permit, Mayor Jody Everhart said. That doesn’t give the town enough time to plan and insure public safety, he said.
The new rule does not affect the N.C. Transportation Museum, which is state-owned property.
Land management Director Price Wagoner said he proposed the new ordinance because he hopes the town will have more festivals as the Small Town Main Street program progresses.
The basic fee for using town property remains $20, but if festivals and special events take off, aldermen could decide to set a fee schedule.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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