In a split vote, the Elizabethtown Borough Council voted to reject a proposed ordinance that would allow households to put out three trash containers per week instead of the current one. Councilors then voted unanimously to advertise a proposed ordinance to allow for two containers.
With a big cutback in the items accepted for recycling in Lancaster County, people will need to throw out items that were put in recycling bins until recently. Elizabethtown allows for unlimited recycling, but people are supposed to buy a $2 tag for trash containers beyond one per week. Containers cannot be larger than 32 gallons and must weigh no more than 30 pounds.
Councilor Jeffrey K. McCloud cast the only vote against rejecting the three-container ordinance at the meeting on Thursday, Sept. 6; he said he would seldom use three containers but would like to have the option to do so and thought others would too. Council President J. Marc Hershey voted to reject the three-container ordinance along with Councilors Thomas A. Shaud and Phillip P. Clark. Council Vice President J. Neil Ketchum was absent from the meeting; Councilor Bill Troutman was present at the beginning but left before the vote.
It was unclear how the change to the number of containers would affect trash collection rates. Borough Manager Roni Ryan said haulers bidding on the contract to collect waste would still have the same costs to drive around town, but they might need to make more trips to the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority’s incinerator, which could increase costs. Ryan said Elizabethtown’s current fee of $160 per year for trash collection is the cheapest in the county. She also said most if not all municipalities in the county allow for at least three containers of trash.
A number of people had raised concerns about the prospect of lids being required on trash cans; Ryan said the reference to lids in the proposed ordinance was only part of the definition of a trash container; she said lids are not required. The objections raised about lids included that lids could be blown away in the wind or damaged by trash collectors. Other concerns were over fines for not following proper trash collection procedures; the proposed ordinance mentioned a fine of $200 to $1,000 plus costs of prosecution. Ryan emphasized that that is only done as a last resort and said the borough will try to work with people first to teach them about proper trash and recycling procedures.
“We really do pursue education first,” Ryan said.
The borough must re-advertise the proposed ordinance and vote on it again at the next meeting, scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 20.
In other business, councilors voted unanimously to approve time extensions for the Conoy Crossing development. The deadline for completing the recording of a land development plan, previously set for Oct. 20, was extended 40 days; the deadline to finish construction of Masonic Drive was extended from Oct. 16, 2018, to July 31, 2019.