Tuesday, August 14, 2007

More Flood-Damaged Pick-ups?

Marengo Disposal has been around Woodstock one more time (today) and still there is flood-damaged debris on the curbs.

At last night’s Coffee with the Chief (8/13/07) I asked this question, “When officers patrol Woodstock, do they note the addresses of houses in front of which is piled flood-damaged debris and report the addresses to Public Works or City Hall?”

Answer: No

Wouldn’t this be a simple, low-time, customer service that officers could provide? Who is in a better position to see the piles of damaged property? A simple, short radio call to the dispatcher, “Put xxx N. Madison St. on the list” would use less than 30 seconds of air time.

A surprising comment at the Coffee was that officers have caught scavengers stealing flood damaged property, and not just property out at the front curb. But is it stealing?

I’m unsure of the laws about property discarded at the curb. Is there an inherent contract between the property owner and the disposal service that the damaged goods, so placed, belong to the disposal service? Clearly, if a scavenger is in someone’s backyard and picking through trash or flood-damaged goods, that’s illegal.

What is needed is a customer-friendlier method of contacting City Hall and better information to residents about additional pick-up times. The officers at the Coffee didn’t know that Marengo Disposal would make an additional pick up on Tuesday, August 14. Had they known, they could have alerted residents to phone City Hall to arrange for a pick-up. I myself phoned in addresses of three neighbors who didn’t know about today’s pick-up.

So, what happens now? Does the Code Enforcement Officer visit homes with debris out front and threaten them with citations? Or does the City arrange additional pick-up days? How long will neighbors have to look at piles of damaged goods out on the curbs?

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