Salisbury City Council receives update on downtown dumpster pilot program

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 30, 2024

SALISBURY — Assistant Public Works Director Michael Hanna provided the Salisbury City Council with an update on its downtown dumpster pilot program at its May 21 meeting. 

Hanna said the reasons for the program is to decrease the number of rollout waste carts in the downtown and to meet the city’s “sustainability goals” by developing a “centralized point of collection.”

“This will help reduce our carbon footprint…As well as clean the downtown up, making it look a little bit more pleasing to the eye,” Hanna said.

The program will begin at the Wallace lot across from Salty Caper Wood Fired Pizza off of Lee Street because the site is near many local businesses and residential units. 

The city came into an agreement for the construction of a dumpster enclosure in the corner of the Wallace lot. The parking lot was then brought up to code to allow for a waste collection truck to enter and empty the dumpster. Country Boy Landscaping, out of Statesville, built the enclosure to house one dumpster and rollout recycling carts.

A cost analysis found there to be “inconsistencies with solid waste billing in the downtown” according to Hanna. A billing audit by the public works, finance and customer service departments discovered there to be 11 downtown locations where waste collection was taking place, but not being billed correctly.

Hanna said city staff will work on informing those individuals who are going to be charged for trash collection. Salisbury is going to organize a community engagement walk during the week of June 3 “to answer any questions for the citizens downtown, to educate citizens for the designated block.” 

The dumpster will officially be in use on July 1 and Hanna explained a “transition period” will likely occur, so the city will not collect the rollout carts that are already there until Aug. 1.

There will be “no change” to the billing for solid waste collection in the downtown. Hanna said Salisbury can pay for the program “with the current billing method.” The people who were not being charged for collection before are going to be starting July 1. 

The plan is for the dumpster to be emptied three times a week, with possible changes to be made to the schedule if it is found to be necessary. An access code will be provided only to nearby residents in the Lee, East Innes, South Main and Fisher streets block to stop others from using the dumpster. 

Hanna admitted there will be “challenges” for some people who now have to travel greater distances to dispose of their trash. The pilot program will last six months to one year. 

“I really don’t like all those rollout cans, there’s no place to put them, they look ugly. This will really clean up the visual for our community,” Mayor Karen Alexander said.