Houston & Peach

Warner Robins updates trash ordinance, ups tree disposal fee

WARNER ROBINS -- The Warner Robins City Council reorganized the city’s sanitation ordinance to help residents better understand the rules of garbage and trash pickup.

The ordinance, first read Monday night, remained the same except for one change, which increased the cost for disposing of a fallen or cut tree.

Public Works could charge $81.11 for tree disposal, according to the ordinance, but Director of Public Works George Brannen said that fee has never been imposed upon a resident. However, it was recommended in the pre-council meeting that the fee be increased to $500.

Disposing of whole trees isn’t a common occurrence, but Brannen said it does happen sometimes when the wind picks up.

“If (the fee) is ever collected, it would be waived in an ice storm (or) a big wind event like that,” Brannen said.

Councilman Chuck Shaheen asked why the charge was being increased since the city hasn’t collected the fee in the past.

Brannen said the increased fee is aimed at deterring “fly-by-night” tree services from cutting down trees and leaving residents, who are under the false impression that the city will remove it, with the responsibility of removing the tree.

“(The fee) is not out there to punish the citizens,” Brannen said. “It’s protection for the people that are doing it right.”

The Council agreed to reduce the proposed $500 fee to $100.

The ordinance also clarifies the difference between trash and garbage.

“I would think anything that rots would be garbage,” Brannen said. “Anything that’s consumable goes in your green can and anything you trim up around your yard goes in the trash.”

Questions commonly asked by residents include, “How do I dispose of paint?” and, “Will my carpet be picked up?” Brannen said carpet won’t be picked up and water-based paint must be dried out before it’s disposed. A piece of plywood within a pile of leaves also will not be picked up because it’s mixed media, Brannen said.

Dead animals will also not be picked up.

“I had a lady call one day and she said, ‘My dog died last week and y’all still haven’t been over here to pick him up.’ ” Brannen said. “I’ve been working here for 13 years and I went, ‘You didn’t bury your own dog?’ It was a real call. Don’t put Fluffy by the road when she dies.”

Warner Robins City Clerk Bill Harte said the newly reorganized ordinance can be found on the city’s website Tuesday.

In another matter, the Council passed a resolution to cooperate with a multi-city plan for economic development along the I-75 corridor through Houston and Peach counties. The development efforts are lead by Flint Energies, Jointly Owned Natural Gas, Fort Valley Utility Commission, development authorities and governments of Houston and Peach counties, and the cities of Perry, Byron, Warner Robins and Fort Valley.

To contract writer Laura Corley, call 744-4334