An update on the “new” refuse containers

An update on the “new” refuse containers

By Mike Barhorst - Contributing columnist

Members of Sidney’s City Council envision Sidney as a vibrant community that is competitive in its pursuit of additional economic development opportunities. We believe strongly that Sidney has a lot to offer to new residents, businesses and companies. Making a good first impression is essential in attracting new residents, business and industry.

Sociologists indicate it takes just a quick glance, maybe three seconds, for someone to evaluate you when they meet you for the first time. In this short time, the other person forms an opinion about you based on your appearance, your body language, your demeanor, your mannerisms, and how you are dressed.

Having taken many individuals, families and business leaders on my own “five cent tour of Sidney,” I can tell you that I try to look at our community as a first-time visitor might. I tend to notice every pothole, piece of paper blowing across the street and unpainted building.

In February 2016, Council adopted legislation that was designed to improve not only the visual appeal of the community, but to reduce the critter populations that cause various health and safety issues. In this article, I want to revisit the regulations pertaining to the use and storage of solid waste and recycling containers.

In addition, I want to again reiterate when those containers, yard waste and larger items should be placed at the curb for pickup. I also want to address when the empty containers should be removed from the curb after collection.

The legislation enacted by Council more than two years ago requires that containers, bags, yard waste and larger items scheduled for pick up must be set out by 7:00 a.m. the day of pick up, but no earlier than noon the day before scheduled pick-up. In addition, the containers must be removed no later than noon the day after the scheduled pick-up.

The legislation also regulates where the containers must be stored when not curbside for collection. The legislation specifies that if the residence has a two-car garage or larger, the containers must be stored in an enclosed structure (preferably the garage). If the residence has less than a two-car garage, the containers must be placed behind the front set back of the house and screened from view. Screening could be in the form of natural features including shrubbery. They can also be obscured from view by fencing.

If the residence has less than a two-car garage, and proper screening is not possible, the containers, bags, yard waste and big items shall be stored in the rear or side yard at least 25 feet back from the front set back of the house. The intent is to make the containers less visible from the street. In short, all containers should not be visible from the street, except on the day refuse is collected.

For those areas of the community where topography makes it virtually impossible to comply with these regulations, the Assistant City Manager/Public Works Director can approve a variance. This variance will be available only to those with topographical hardships.

In addition, for those who are handicapped and unable to move their refuse container(s) to the curb, Republic Services (Sidney’s contracted provider) will, at no cost, move your container to the curb, dump it, and then return it to your storage location. This service is also available for all citizens for an up-charge of $14.00 per month.

It is important that lids on the containers remain closed at all times. The containers are designed so that critters are unable to get inside for their meals and snacks. If we are not feeding them, they will hopefully move elsewhere.

As many of our readers know, I grew up in the country. Yet, I see more critters in town than I saw growing up on the farm. In recent weeks, I’ve observed the usual array of critters, including feral cats and stray dogs, squirrels, skunks, raccoons, and opossums. In addition, I’ve seen a few deer and even a coyote.

As cute as squirrels are, they do carry and transmit a handful of diseases, which makes their presence less than desirable and occasionally dangerous. Those diseases include salmonellosis, Lyme disease, tularemia , leptospirosis, and rabies. Although I’ve singled out just squirrels, each of the critters I mentioned can transmit diseases, one of the primary reasons Council voted to move to standardized containers.

There has been an increase in refuse container violations in recent weeks. Residents are encouraged to report violations of the above referenced regulations to the Assistant City Manager/Public Works Director at or 937-498-8141 so the non-conforming property owner can be educated on the regulations and how to become and remain compliant.

Sidney is a great place to live, work, worship and raise a family. By working together, we can make Sidney not only a healthy and safe community, but one that is more visibly appealing. In doing so, you can help guarantee that when visitors come to Sidney, it is a place to which they will want to return.
An update on the “new” refuse containers

By Mike Barhorst

Contributing columnist

The writer is the mayor of Sidney.

The writer is the mayor of Sidney.