Tulsa officials may not be ready for overflow trash stickers
BY BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
9/19/12 at 7:48 AM
Read about Tulsa’s trash service changes.
The city may not be able to require residents to affix special 50-cent stickers to their overflow bags of trash and green waste with the Oct. 1 launch of the new trash service, officials said Tuesday.
Tulsa's City Council hasn't received from city staff a new set of ordinances governing some aspects of the new system, including the stickers.
Also in doubt are the planned requirements for residents to use only clear bags for their lawn clippings and leaves set outside their carts and to bag their trash inside the carts.
Solid Waste Services Manager Eric Lee told the trash board's planning committee Tuesday the ordinances, which are now rough drafts, likely won't be presented to councilors until after the start of the month.
If the council eventually approves them, the ordinances still wouldn't go into effect until 30 days after they are formally published, unless emergency clauses are also approved.
Lee told the Tulsa World the board's legal counsel would have to determine whether the city could still make the requirements without the ordinances.
"You can't necessarily enforce something that doesn't exist in ordinance form," he said during the meeting.
Trash board member Randy Sullivan said the process shouldn't be rushed.
"If we need to take some time to do this right, then we should do that," Sullivan said.
The delay doesn't affect the new system's monthly rate schedule, which was approved by councilors earlier this year.
The council approved an ordinance that required substantially bagging trash inside the carts for the summer months but inserted an end-of-September sunset clause so it would have to be reconsidered.
The planned sticker system - green for green waste and orange for trash - is for any bags set outside a trash cart. They will be available at all city QuikTrip locations for 50 cents each.
Residents will be getting 10 free overflow trash bag stickers in the mail beginning next week to start the program.
And November, December and January are already scheduled to be free green waste months.
Recycling carts: The debate rages on as to whether the board - formally known as the Tulsa Authority for the Recovery of Energy - will offer a recycling cart smaller than the 96-gallon version.
City staff has recommended the board only offer a mid-size option to a select list of condominium and townhome neighborhoods based on their covenant restrictions.
Offering the option to all residents citywide could be viewed as a change in the bidding process for the trash program, Lee said. The bid specifications had stated that only one recycling cart size would be offered.
But some board members said they want a legal opinion.
"I've had a lot of people say they would like to have a smaller recycling cart, and if we're going to offer an alternative size, I don't think we should do it for only a select few," board chairwoman Cheryl Cohenour said.
Several councilors have pressed the board for the option.
Northwest quadrant: Some of the 23,000 city-provided trash carts that were being used in Tulsa's northwest quadrant under the old system might end up going to Nowata and Spavinaw.
The two small towns might be allowed to have them for free or a nominal cost, if they will remove Tulsa's seal from the carts before use.
The board is deciding the process for collecting them and would then declare them surplus property.
Original Print Headline: Trash stickers plan needs tweaking
Brian Barber 918-581-8322
A mechanical claw tips a trash can into a truck as Brent Caldwell drives his route in a neighborhood near 81st Street and Elwood Avenue in Tulsa. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World