NEWS HEADLINES

City prohibits trash rummaging

By Erika Pedroza | Published Saturday, June 22, 2013

One man’s trash may be another’s treasure. But the City of Bridgeport will not permit one man to look through another’s trash seeking treasure.

After becoming aware of people scavenging through trash containers that don’t belong to them, the city has made it illegal to rummage through those containers and add or remove refuse from them. It’s believed that those digging through the trash were looking for loot to facilitate identity theft.

The amended ordinance was one of three the city council approved Tuesday.

City Administrator Brandon Emmons said that residents who want to place a piece of furniture out for another to snag as their treasure, would simply have to put a sign that said, ‘Free’ on the item.

“What we’re trying to stop here is people that are going and digging through bags of trash, looking for envelopes, stacks of paper, etc.,” he said.

SOLICITATION IN THE CITY

Following a slew of complaints during a donation campaign last April, solicitations are no longer allowed at any major intersection in Bridgeport.

Also included in the changes to the solicitation ordinance was the definition of a major intersection as one that has two marked lanes of travel each way – such as Texas 114 at Halsell Street and 13th Street and U.S. 380 at Texas 101 and 17th Street. The words “accepting donations” were also added to the definition of solicitation.

Last April, a Dallas church group pulled solicitation permits to receive donations. Staff felt that the group met the requirements in place, so the permits were issued. The group set up in front of a few businesses – with permission from those businesses – and at major intersections, most notably at 380 and 101.

“During the time they were out there, pretty much on a daily basis, the police department and development service staff received complaint after complaint, more as a concern for the safety of not only the solicitors standing at these major intersections, but also the drivers who may not see the solicitors,” City Secretary Jesica McEachern said.

She added that organizations, such as the fire department and its boot drive, could request an exception that is “subject to approval of the city.”

At a later meeting, officials will discuss additional changes to solicitation regulations to prohibit out of town solicitors and to revise the outlined fees.

SWIMMING POOLS

Residents looking to install an above-ground swimming pool will pay a reduced rate.

Previously, the construction/installation of all swimming pools, both in-ground and above, and hot tubs/spas required a $35 electrical permit fee, $85 building permit fee and $75 plumbing permit fee.

At the recommendation of Countywide Inspection Services, the city’s building official, the building permit fee for above-ground pools has been reduced to $20 because typically just one inspection is completed to make sure supplemental requirements of having a pool – such as having a 4-foot fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate around the yard where the pool is contained – are met.

Electrical and plumbing fees, as well as all fees for in-ground pool construction remain unchanged.

IN OTHER NEWS

The council also:

  • heard an expenditure report on the Main Street department which included $1,785.65 in advertising for Coal Miners’ Heritage Festival and Home for the Holidays event; $805.95 in training and travel; $448.22 in supplies for various contests and events; $229 in printing color copies and pictures with Santa; and $147.19 in office supplies. Of the $12,000 Hotel Occupancy Tax fund, only $2,390 has been spent on out-of-county advertising.
  • tabled a request from Steve Summers, CEO of Wise Regional Health System, to rename Doctors’ Hospital Drive to Hospital Drive “as part of the effort to transition the hospital association away from the former Doctors’ Hospital association and toward its new affiliation with WRHS.” Elected officials fielded complaints from businesses that would be forced to print new “logos, letterhead, business cards, etc.” if the change was made.
  • authorized the electric department to install two security lights at East Side Cemetery. The cost to set the poles is $5,688.08.
  • opted not to pursue mosquito spraying and instead focus on educating the community on the risks of standing water. Barrels and tires are hotbeds for mosquito breeding.
  • will look into the cost of asbestos removal at the old junior high school to possibly establish a recreation center there.
  • reviewed a payment report in the amount of $534,488.10.
  • approved the minutes from its June 4 meeting.

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