On Monday, June 9, Milford City Council discussed several proposed changes to city ordinances that could affect residents. The matters were only brought up for discussion and will be on next week’s City Council agenda.
The first ordinance change discussed was to the Solid Waste Code. City Manager Richard Carmean explained that the changes to the code clarify further what the city will and will not pick up in the way of solid waste. During the discussion, Councilman Skip Pikus mentioned that he and many other council members get many questions about the yard waste procedure.
“For some reason, many citizens are not understanding how the yard waste process works,” Councilman Pikus said. Mr. Carmean explained that he, too, received many calls with complaints about the yard waste process.
Mr. Carmean explained that if there is any debris on the ground outside the can, the collectors have been instructed not to pick it up. Many times, he said he has seen very small debris piles that would not be a problem for the guys to pick up, but he has also seen exceedingly large piles that the collectors cannot take.
“If the pile is 50 feet long and four feet high, we just can’t do that,” he explained. “So, if we take the little piles, we almost have to take the big ones, so we have to say no to everyone.” In addition, Mr. Carmean explained that the code says that the debris cannot be above the can by more than 42 inches. He has gotten complaints that collectors are leaving cans behind even when the debris may not be that high. He has ordered staff to pick up the cans if the debris is inside the can.
Councilman Pikus asked Mr. Carmean to look into the possibility of adding an additional truck to pick up larger debris piles to eliminate the problem with a surcharge added for those pickups. Councilman Owen Brooks suggested that the surcharge only be applied to those who needed additional pick-ups and not all citizens. Mr. Carmean agreed to look into the cost of an additional truck and also names of contractors who may be willing to handle additional pick-ups for citizens at a low cost.
Another code change discussed by council at the meeting was the abolishment of the Parks and Recreation Commission, which has not been operational for many years. Removing it from the code was “housekeeping” according to Mr. Carmean. The new ordinance that establishes a Parks and Recreation chapter to the Code will now cover rules for the parks, costs of park rentals and park hours. If the code is passed, all Milford parks will be closed from sunset to sunrise like most parks in Delaware. The exception for this will be individuals who are traveling through Bicentennial Park to get from one side of the Riverwalk to another.
The code changes also addressed loitering in parks and public urination. Currently, the code states that an arrest cannot be made for indecent exposure due to public urination unless a police officer witnesses the incident. The final code change was related to streets and sidewalks, forbidding people from throwing trash on the sidewalk and enforcing that sidewalks cannot be blocked.
“We run into a problem sometimes when merchants put items out on the street for sale and block the sidewalk,” Mr. Carmean explained. “The fact is, even though it is their sidewalk, we cannot allow sidewalks to be blocked.” This section of the code also says that throwing or kicking objects in the street is forbidden as well.
Councilman Brooks said that he had noticed a lot of skateboarders in town and wondered if the city was enforcing their skateboard policy. Mr. Carmean and Chief of Police Keith Hudson, said they tried to enforce it as much as possible.
“You know, there are neighborhoods where children don’t have a backyard or their yards are very small,” Councilwoman Katrina Wilson said. “They really have no option but to play in the street in some neighborhoods.” Chief Hudson explained that the ordinance basically protects the city should something happen, although they do understand that some children are going to play in the street on roads with very little traffic.