The City of Long Beach expects to see much cleaner streets after the City Council adopted an ordinance last week that designates exactly when merchants should put their garbage to the curb.
Beginning Sept. 15, shopkeepers will only be allowed to put out their trash from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., or face a stiff fine, city officials said. The ordinance was passed at the Aug. 21 council meeting.
In addition, the council agreed to promote a sanitation worker, Jamel Taylor, to sanitation inspector to make sure the merchants abide by the new ordinance. The promotion will come with a pay hike from $43,717 to $50,030.
The ordinance stated that it’s the duty of merchants to keep streets, curbs and gutters clear of debris. The measure will keep garbage and other debris from being blown around Long Beach streets during windy days, they said.
Even though it will put more pressure on merchants to live by the new rules or face a penalty, business leaders greeted the new measure with enthusiasm.
“I’m in favor of it because it will bring a better quality of life for merchants and residents,” said Warren Vegh, executive director of the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce. “The sidewalks will be cleaner. At night merchants will put their garbage out and if it’s windy, you would see garbage blowing down the street. The garbage will be all over the place.”
The new designated hours will give merchants plenty of time to place their garbage outside for commercial pickup, Vegh said. He added that they would also get plenty of notice and possibly a warning before the new ordinance takes effect.
“Merchants have been putting their garbage out at all hours, at one or two in the afternoon and you would have cardboard boxes blowing all over town,” said Billy Romm, owner of Billy’s Beach Café on West Park Avenue. “This way it’s more organized and people are not putting out their garbage randomly for pickup.”
For the past nine months, there have been no set rules or regulations, which is why the streets have appeared messier.
“I think having an inspector to write summonses is a great idea as long as he’s not politically influenced,” Romm added.
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Councilman Mike Fagen questioned why the city would promote a worker at a pay raise – even though it’s only a $7,000 increase – at a time when the city is in such financial instability. He said the city should instead train an existing supervisor to do the job rather than create a new position.
“We found a way to save $7,000 and then spend $7,000,” Fagen said. “We can’t afford to offset that money when we’re operating from a deficit position.”
At last week’s meeting, City Manager Jack Schnirman said it would be cost-effective and generate more revenue for the city to have a sanitation inspector.
Jim LaCarrubba, Department of Public Works commissioner, said the position will require a certain understanding and tact to enforce the code.