Special treatment?

Published 8:05 pm Saturday, August 14, 2010

Business owners in the village of Driver apparently have been getting special treatment for more than 15 years, unbeknownst to current city management — until recently.

During the recent restructuring of the trash collection program, it was discovered that Driver businesses have been receiving weekly refuse collection by the city for more than 15 years, despite the fact that city code stipulates that businesses outside the downtown district must dispose of their own trash.

“Neither long term staff members nor the affected business owners are able to provide clarity on how this situation was established,” City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn wrote in a July 16 letter to City Council members. “The situation was discovered by Public Works management during the recent automated refuse collection expansion program.”

Email newsletter signup

Businesses in the Downtown Business Overlay District pay extra taxes to have up to three 90-gallon containers dumped three times per week by the city.

“Clearly the businesses in Driver Village have been provided a service that no other business in the city has been receiving,” Cuffee-Glenn wrote, noting the downtown exception.

On Friday, at least one Driver business — Rio Grande Traders — had a city-issued trash can parked on the side of its building.

“I hope they continue picking it up,” said Ronnie Gould, owner of Rio Grande. “None of us really have any extra spots to put a dumpster.”

Gould said having a private company pick up trash would create an added expense for the businesses, and contended it would not cost much for the city to keep picking it up.

“It probably wouldn’t take them 10 minutes at most,” Gould said. “It can’t be that big of an inconvenience to the city.”

The city manager wrote that City Council would have to amend city code or create a special taxing district in Driver to cover the cost of the service. No estimate of the cost was offered in her letter.

Until she receives guidance from City Council, she added, the service will continue.