The Howell City Council has approved fees for new collection bin permits.

Council previously adopted a new ordinance establishing various standards to regulate various collection/donation bins around the city, which have become an eyesore on some properties and will need to be in compliance or face fines. At Monday night’s Howell City Council meeting, Council unanimously adopted a resolution setting fees for the collection bin permits at $100 per application – which are good for one year. The application is for a single bin because an individual company can apply for individual bins on the same site, although there are provisions for how it can be set up. Staff has sent out notices to the majority of property owners and bin owners in the City notifying them that the ordinance is in place and they have 90 days to comply with the terms and apply for an application.

Community Development Director Tim Schmitt and the City code enforcement officer will likely enforce the ordinance and have already conducted an inventory of bins around the City. Schmitt told Council the main part of enforcement will happen up front - 90 days after the ordinance was adopted because that’s when a company needs to either have a permit for the bin or be off the site. Schmitt explained that it will likely be that initial push to get the unlicensed ones out of the city that will take up the most time. He told members that they’ve had an inventory for several months now and he’s been in contact with most all property owners or bin owners in regard to the new ordinance and permit application. He noted they’ve already been approached by two companies who are in favor of the ordinance and intend to get licensed. With enforcement, Schmitt anticipates the harder, more time consuming task will be getting unlicensed bins out of the City and it’s some of those lesser operators with the beat up bins that don’t clean up after them and have stuff sitting outside that could be an issue.

Schmitt told Council there’s one company they haven’t been able to track down a good contact for yet but he fully expects other bins will start disappearing because they don’t have permission from the property owner to be there to begin with. He commented that a legitimate company, Planet Aid being the most common example, will get permission from a property owner to put a bin on a site but then others will just show up illegally. Schmitt says typically communities don’t have any tools for enforcement and Planet Aid tends to not enforce their rights per contract so they just let it go. If there is a violation, both the property owner and the company responsible for the bin would be notified and both would receive a ticket if it comes to that. Schmitt said bin operators will have 90 days from adoption of the ordinance to get legal, and would have 30 days after a violation is issued. It was noted that staff could have a conversation with the City trash hauler if needed about getting rid of any extra bins but Schmitt said hopefully it doesn’t come to that. (JM)