Council Approves Bulk Pickup Fee Increase Ordinance

OCEAN CITY- With little discussion, resort officials this week approved on first reading an ordinance that will increase the town’s bulk pickup fees for the first time in nearly a decade.

The Mayor and Council had before them on first reading an ordinance that will, if approved, raise the town’s bulk pickup rates for the first time since 2013. Resort residents can currently call the city’s public works department to pick up discarded items such as old furniture, appliances or even large tree trimmings, for example. There are also private sector businesses that also provide the service, but the price is often higher than what the city charges.

Last week, the Mayor and Council agreed to advance the proposed ordinance to Monday night’s meeting for a first reading of the ordinance. The ordinance ultimately approved unanimously by the council would increase the fee for a single item to be picked up to $40. The fee would be $75 for up to three items, and another $10 for each item over three. Last week, Deputy Public Works Director Woody Vickers explained to the council the reason for the proposed hike in the bulk pickup fees.

Vickers told the council the increased fees were not meant to be an increased revenue source, but rather a balancing of the town’s fees versus the fees charged by the private sector companies that offer the same service. Vickers said the intent of the ordinance was to avoid residents simply dumping large bulk pickup items on the sidewalk or in vacant lots or other areas around town.

Vickers said the town’s public works department is currently handling a backlog of requests from residents to pickup and dispose of bulk items appropriately. He said the waiting list to have an item or items picked up was currently running around two weeks.

It was clarified the bulk pickup program is for residential use only and not commercial properties, which generally contract with a private sector company to pick up discarded bulk items for appropriate disposal. The program was created decades ago to avoid residents simply dumping large bulk items in the street or in a vacant lot somewhere in town. It was learned the public works department has known trouble spots around town where solid waste bulk pickup items are often dumped without residents taking advantage of the town’s relatively-inexpensive bulk item pickup fee schedule.

With no further discussion, the council voted 6-0 with Councilman Frank Knight absent to approve the bulk pickup fee increase ordinance on first reading.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.