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Citizen misuse brings removal of trash cans

Brookhaven officials say abuse by citizens contributed to adecision to remove garbage cans from downtown and other parts ofthe city, but some people say that solution has resulted in an”inconvenience” for shoppers and others.

The garbage cans were taken up several weeks ago after the citydiscontinued commercial garbage service at the end of January, saidBrookhaven Sanitation Department Superintendent James Arnold. Healluded to problems with large boxes and similar garbage, not justcola cans or regular litter, overflowing the cans.

“We had to move them because people starting putting garbage inthem,” Arnold said.

Mayor Bill Godbold offered the same explanation.

“They were using them for household items, too,” Godboldsaid.

The mayor mentioned problems specifically with overflowinggarbage cans on the boulevard. Since there were problems elsewhere,Godbold said officials felt obligated to take all up all thecans.

“We didn’t take them up in a certain place, we took them upeverywhere,” Godbold said.

Some citizens say the city’s decision has added to litter onsidewalks and in downtown planters. Others believe litter will endup on the ground regardless.

Godbold suggested business owners could help with keeping theplanters clean.

“People that own the place of business should come out and cleanthem up every once in a while,” Godbold said.

Jill Davis, owner of Brookhaven Barber Shop, said it was not agood situation currently. She mentioned an incident where apasserby came in looking for a garbage can.

“He had a cup and didn’t have anywhere to throw it,” Davissaid.

Other citizens, however, just throw cans and cups on the groundand don’t worry about proper disposal, she said.

Davis, like some other businesses, doesn’t mind an occasionalcan or cup put in their garbage can inside the store. That, though,can have some consequences.

“It puts a burden on us,” Davis said, alluding to more garbagethat has to be disposed of then. Davis said she was fortunate to beable to share garbage service with a neighboring business.

Davis said there had been lot complaints among customers aboutthe lack of garbage cans downtown.

“They just think it’s an inconvenience,” she said.

George Hennington, who operates a nearby clothing store, offereda different view.

“I haven’t had many of my customers say anything about it,” saidHennington, although adding that most do not come in the store withfood containers or cans.

City officials discontinued commercial garbage service in aneffort to stop losing money on the service. Arnold said officialsare trying to determine a course of action to deal with the city’sgarbage situation.

“It’s at a standstill now,” Arnold said.

Alderman-at-large Les Bumgarner, who owns an clothing businesson West Cherokee Street, expressed comments similar toHennington’s.

Bumgarner attributed a lack of complaints to the kind ofbusiness he runs plus that food-serving establishments and drinkmachines were not nearby. He also doesn’t mind letting customersdispose of a litter item in the store’s trash can.

“It hasn’t been a problem for me,” Bumgarner said.

Bumgarner mentioned that the downtown cans sometimes were notused even when they were out. He also cited some abuse of the cansafter commercial garbage service was stopped.

“People were throwing all kinds of stuff in there,” Bumgarnersaid. “It wasn’t just people with Coke cans.”

Bumgarner said he tries to police the area in front of his storeand keep it clean.

“I think the downtown area should be kept clean and neat,”Bumgarner said. “It’s our city. We all should take care of it.”

Davis mentioned the possibility of bettering the communitythrough the city’s actions and possible money saved.

“If the money’s going to better the town, that’s fine,” shesaid, “but if it’s not, they need to put the trash cans backout.”