NEW ROADS — Pointe Coupee Parish residents are going to have to become more responsible when it comes to keeping track of their parish-issued garbage cans if they want to avoid being charged replacement fees in the near future.
The Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury approved a resolution Tuesday stating residents will have to pay $45 to replace any lost or stolen cans starting July 1.
The replacement fee is the actual cost the parish pays to purchase each trash can, officials said.
The measure, which passed by a 7-3-2 vote, was the jury’s heavily debated response after having to budget about $22,000 annually for replacement of solid waste carts.
“People need to be more responsible,” Juror Kurt Jarreau said during discussion of the proposal. “We can’t keep eating up all these costs.”
Jarreau offered the motion for charging replacement fees, saying he believed that adopting the fees would severely reduce the number of requests the parish receives from residents about obtaining replacement cans.
Juror Glenn Ray Cline, who cast one of the three votes against the move, said he was hesitant to support the resolution because people who visit their camps on the weekends often leave trash carts out for weeks at a time only to return and find that the carts have been stolen.
Cline said it seemed unfair to charge camp owners for replacement trash cans, but a majority of the jury disagreed, saying those individuals bear responsibility for keeping up with their trash bins.
Parish Administrator Jim Bello said Thursday the parish has been issuing anywhere from 400 to 600 replacement cans annually to residents since signing a contract in 2006 with Houma-based IESI, now called Progressive, for solid waste management services.
Bello said the jury decided to spend $300,000 at that time to buy more than 10,000 trash bins for residents because the parish was considering starting up its own garbage collection system.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the jury re-introduced that notion and asked Bello to pull together cost assessments related to initiating the parish-run program. The jury expects to review that data in July.
“Everybody has been given at least one can,” Bello said. “Now, that can is their can. If they need us to repair it for any reason, then we will at no charge to them. If it’s not repairable, then they’ll have to pay to replace it.”