By Bryce Abshier – Contact Bryce@TheVOSM.net
At a recent Belleview City Commission meeting, garbage cans being left by the roadway for extended periods of time was a topic of debate. Belleview residents, as well as those who pass through town, are likely familiar with these cans. They are hard to miss: brown in color with vibrant orange lids. Florida Express Environmental, as the residential garbage collector for the City of Belleview, provides these cans to all city residents.
Commissioner Ron Livsey has attempted to bring awareness to what he calls a “lousy” sight in Belleview: these brown and orange trash cans being left out by the street for days on end.
“These garbage cans that are sitting out in the sun for seven days… they stink,” said Commissioner Livsey while debating a proposed ordinance with other commissioners. “We’re trying to keep our city beautiful, and it does look lousy. Even if it is only one or two on the street, it does look lousy.”
Commissioner Bo Smith drove around Belleview to investigate how much of a nuisance these trash cans really are. “Since this was being discussed for a while, I’ve been driving around looking. I drove by Mr. Livsey’s house and his street. I see the cans, technically on Mr. Livsey’s street, I didn’t see any. The street over, I think I saw three, but there are 23 houses on that street,” said Smith.
The commission seemed ready to vote on Ordinance 2023-12, providing requirements for the removal of garbage cans from the city right-of-way within 24 hours of collection until a realization was made: the city does not work on Fridays.
“Correct me if I’m wrong… if we adopt this ordinance, is that something else that staff is going to handle?,” asked Commissioner Smith. City staff at the meeting confirmed that to be correct. “I hate to be the odd man out or the bad guy here, but I just personally think we have worse issues to deal with than garbage cans,” said Smith.
“Do we have a plan of how we would enforce this if it passes?,” asked Mayor Christine Dobkowski to city staff. Because the garbage collection day for some Belleview residents is every Thursday, on the following Friday no city employee would be on duty to enforce this new ordinance.
Mayor Dobkowski said the ordinance was unjust because it could not be enforced fairly to every resident. She did suggest another tactic to Livsey, who has long wanted to see trash cans removed from the street after collection. “Here is an idea, and I’ve seen people do this in other communities. Different commissioners and different boards will have an issue that is near and dear to their heart and they’ll basically start a public campaign to help draw attention to that issue,” explained Mayor Dobkowski. She suggested to Livsey possibly recording a video to be used on Facebook to draw awareness to the garbage can issue.
Commissioner Livsey still believed an ordinance would be effective. “Once we have an ordinance that says you can’t, and we have people finding out about the ordinance… I don’t think we have to send a code enforcement person out there. I think people on the street, people driving by, would also report this.”
Commissioner Mike Goldman said that he could not support an inequitable ordinance. “It’s not a question of what I like… I don’t like people leaving their trash cans out. But what I like even less is us doing something that is going to affect half of the citizens and give the other half an unfair advantage in regards to the law,” he said.
The ordinance failed to pass by a measure of 4-1. Commissioner Ron Livsey was the one vote in favor.