Commissioners contemplate new hire in response to rising garbage problem


Photo by Jamie Wiggan

Trash spills out of a can onto a public street in Stowe. Township ordinances allow for fines of up to $600 for littering and other garbage violations.

-STOWE-


By Chadwick Dolgos


Stowe commissioners are looking to create a part-time position for a dedicated code enforcement official overseeing trash violations.


Garbage, litter, and the rodents that feed on them, have been topics of concern for many Stowe residents in recent months. Commissioner Kelly Cropper-Hall proposed the new position during a March 7 public meeting as a potential solution.


“I would like to create a part-time position for a person who does nothing but the trash,” she said. “They will go around, knock on doors, inform residents if their cans are out too early or if they have inappropriate cans, and they will call Valley Waste in the event that trash isn’t picked up.”


While the township’s former ordinance officer Harry Seretti resigned from his position in January citing safety concerns in his resignation letter, Cropper-Hall said she believes Seretti’s overwhelming workload also contributed to his departure.

“A lot of what sort of drained Harry was, not only was he doing ordinances, he was doing the collection on delinquent garbage.” Cropper-Hall said. “Harry was always down at the magistrate taking care of that, so I would like to separate [the positions].”


According to Public Works Director Dan Burkart’s March report, department employees cleaned up three loads of dumped trash on Totero Avenue and spent five days removing litter around the town during the month of February.


Residents say they are glad to see the board taking action on the issue.


Anytime Market owner Mohsen Khan, who explained that he currently hires a crew to help clean up trash in the area and surrounding areas, hopes that the new hire will make a difference in the township.


“Anything that helps the township get the job done would be great,” he said.


Resident Joy Hopewell was also pleased to hear about Cropper-Hall’s proposal, but doesn’t think the position should only be limited to issuing citations.


“I think this person should walk around with a bag and a pic and pick up some of the trash,” she said.


Other commissioners, including President Robin Parrilla, also voiced support for the Cropper-Hall’s proposal. Though the board didn’t take any official actions this month, the proposal is likely to pass by a majority once held for a vote.

“This will give us an opportunity to enforce the laws more with an extra body,” Parrilla said. “I have one vote and I’m in favor of this.”


Cropper-Hall is currently working with Township Secretary Dwight Boddorf to find room in the budget to hire the new part-time employee.


Commissioners have explored other options to address the garbage issue in recent months.

During the board’s August 2021 meeting, Cropper-Hall announced a plan to crackdown on ordinance violations that would have divided the township into five sections, allowing Seretti to focus on one section per day. Seretti resigned before their plan ever went into effect.


While the township’s trash troubles won’t be solved overnight, Parrilla believes hiring an employee whose only focus is enforcing the trash code will make a difference.


“If we start nibbling at it, maybe we will make some breakthroughs,” said Parrilla.


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