Council Takes Action On Downtown Smithfield Trash Problem

SMITHFIELD – Some businesses in Downtown Smithfield will be permitted to become Town of Smithfield sanitation customers under a measure approved September 5 by the Town Council.

Town Manager Mike Scott said some businesses in the 100 block of South Third Street, and 200 and 300 blocks of Market Street, have been placing trash on the sidewalks for town sanitation workers to pick up. Other businesses have been placing their trash inside pedestrian cans along the sidewalks.

Scott said many of the businesses thought the Town was to pick up the trash at no charge, but he can find no record of a town council vote authorizing it. He believes discussions may have occurred during the last streetscape project when power lines were buried in the area, but again told council members there was no previous vote to authorize trash pickup or waive sanitation fees.

The town manager said the trash has become “out of control” and is creating a nuisance in this area of downtown. He said the changes were needed.

Mayor Andy Moore said he had received complaints about the issue and had photos of the trash emailed to him.

“Businesses think they have been grandfathered in. We need to take a stand on it, one way,” Mr. Scott said, adding the Town was not trying to get into the commercial trash business with select merchants, rather solving an existing problem. He said not all businesses in the area identified improperly dispose of their trash. Some merchants have private contractors to haul garage away or dispose of their trash on their own.

In a unanimous vote, the council said the businesses can become a town trash customer and charged a monthly rate. If not they must hire a private trash company to pick up the refuse or take it to the landfill themselves. The businesses will no longer be allowed to leave trash on the sidewalk or dispose of it in town-owned pedestrian cans.

Mayor Pro Tem John Dunn mentioned that some commercial businesses, just one block away, cannot get town trash service.