CALEXICO — The Calexico City Council further focused its efforts on cleanup when it preliminarily approved amending its ordinances on garbage disposal for the downtown area and city-wide nuisance-abatement efforts in separate actions.
The council, in both
instances, voted unanimously to update the refuse-related ordinances at its
Jan. 22 special meeting. Both ordinances will be up for final approval Feb. 5
then must be on the books for 30 days before being enacted.
Council members reopened
a public hearing and preliminarily approved revising a critical chapter of its
citywide nuisance-abatement ordinance.
Nuisance Changes Outlined
The measure provides 24
examples of what constitutes a nuisance-abatement violation to make it easier
for code-enforcement officers to better identify possible violations of the
The changes also
safeguard the city from possible legal actions against it in issuing citations
for violations or ordering property owners to clean up potential violations.
They also make it easier for the city to recoup its costs in the event the city
orders a property cleaned up at the owners’ expense.
The changes were made at
the recommendation of city planning consultant Christopher Velasco and City
Attorney Carlos Campos to protect the city from legal challenges.
No one spoke for or
against the changes during the public hearing. Initially, the hearing was
scheduled for a meeting in mid-December. The council held over the hearing and
decision so it could be aired before a full council. Two members of the council
were absent from the meeting at which the matter was originally scheduled.
In another Downtown
Action Plan-related decision, the council preliminarily approved a requirement
downtown merchants lock their
trash bins or face penalties, although no specifics were mentioned on penalties.
Designed to beautify downtown and increase
commerce, the Action Plan involves several components, including revised
ordinances and upcoming features such as a pedestrian promenade being developed
on First Street and Rockwood Avenue.
The trash-bin-locking proposal would put the
onus on downtown merchants to abate the problems of the now-unlocked bins
attracting scrappers and transients looking for things to sell. The trespassers
are a source of litter and some set the bins on fire, city officials said.
Among the changes proposed to the “garbage
disposal” ordinance is a new entry defining the “downtown collection area,” and
a list of certain requirements to be met within that collection area. These include:
Locked containers: All trash bins to be loaded into trash trucks
must be equipped with locks and kept locked at all times, except when refuse or
recyclables are being deposited or collected;
Identifying information on all containers: All trash bins must
have both the name of the owner and tenant on the front of the container in
paint or indelible ink;
Containers may not block passage: Containers must not block or
impede any passages on any street, alley or sidewalk in the collection area,
even if the building is abandoned or not in use;
Shared containers prohibited: No trash bins shall be shared
between businesses in the downtown collection area; each business must have its
Overflow prohibited/additional collection required: No trash
bins shall be permitted to overflow. If a business’ trash is overflowing, it is
the owner’s/tenant’s responsibility to contact the service provider and make
arrangements for “an increased level of service.”
Finally, the proposed amended ordinance
includes a new penalties section, stating violations “may be punishable by
criminal action, civil action and/or administrative penalties. Violations are
considered public nuisances and each day a violation continues is a separate
offense,” according to the report to the council.
Only affecting downtown businesses, there would
be an added cost of $7 a month to tenants or property owners for the lockable
trash bins, Calexico City Manager David Dale said.
In other city business the council:
Approved 5-0 allowing the city manager to grant fee waivers to
nonprofit and charitable organizations of up to $500 without council approval to
make the process “more efficient,” Dale said. He will have the authority to do
this only for organizations with 501c3 nonprofit status. Any organizations
without that status or seeking fee waivers over $500 must still go before the council.
Dale said the reason this was being done is sometimes organizations will come
to the city and there isn’t enough time between the request and when it gets
placed on an agenda.
Approved 5-0 two “plunger pumps” for the wastewater treatment
plant at a cost of $73,985 to help
regulate the flow in the plant’s wastewater clarifiers. The pumps the city now
has are old and have been in place since 2009, according to Public Works
Manager Liliana Falomir.
Council Member Morris Reisen removed Guillermo “Willie”
Hermosillo from the city Personnel Commission and reassigned him to the Measure
H Oversight Committee. The Measure H Committee approves expenditures using
Measure H funds, a half-cent sales tax put in place by Calexico voters in 2010
to pay for items for public safety and parks and recreation.
Mayor Pro Tem David Romero appointed Alejandro Hernandez to the
Measure H Oversight Committee.