Toilets left by the side of the road. Sofas left near a sidewalk for days. Cardboard boxes left out to get soggy and wet.
Dalton Public Works Director Andrew Parker said the department receives plenty of complaints from citizens about unsightly rubbish left by the side of the road.
He said his department has been working with City Attorney Gandi Vaughn to tighten up the city's rubbish collection policy to reduce the number of such eyesores. He briefed members of the city's Public Works Committee — City Council members Tyree Goodlett and Annalee Harlan — on some of the proposals they have come up with.
Parker said residents could be asked to call ahead to schedule when to put rubbish out for collection.
"We pick up rubbish and yard debris every other week," he said. "It isn't uncommon for people to put something out just hours after we come by, so it could sit there for two weeks until we come back by."
Parker said if people have to call ahead, the Public Works Department can also ask them what they plan to put out and make sure it is an item the department will pick up. For instance, the department does not pick up construction, remodeling or demolition debris. And even though that is stated in the city's ordinance, Parker said people still put such debris out for collection.
"We propose to spell out the sort of items covered by this policy," he said.
That would include, for instance, sheetrock, plumbing fixtures, light fixtures, paint, carpet and related items.
Parker said they also want to make it clear they only will pick up rubbish from owner-occupied housing. He said Vaughn is trying to make sure that any change in the city's policy does not conflict with state law that requires landlords to put a tenant's property outside when the tenant is evicted.
"If they have to put something out, we want them to put it on their property and not on the public right of way," he said.
He said the policy should also be changed to make it clear the department will not pick up cardboard boxes and packing materials.
Parker said the department is looking for feedback from the public on these and other possible changes. Those interested can call the Public Works Department at (706) 278-7077.
Plans currently call for the City Council to hold the first reading of changes to its rubbish collection law at its Monday, June 1, meeting.