Chalk one up for the citizens.
Following complaints from area residents, the Dalton City Council moved earlier this year to require those placing donation boxes inside the city's limits to obtain a permit. The citizens reacted to existing donation boxes that were eyesores, overflowing with clothes and other items or with such items just strewn around them.
Mayor Dennis Mock said recently no one had applied for a permit under the new ordinance, noting he wasn't surprised because "They weren't keeping them up. The boxes tended to become little dumps, and the people who ran them weren't going to do anything that requires them to make a little effort."
Dalton Assistant Police Chief Chris Crossen said all of the boxes have been removed. When the permit ordinance passed there were 24 boxes in 13 locations, according to the police department.
To receive a permit, an organization must provide the city with information on how to contact the organization, and detail how and how often items will be removed. The organization must document how many times the boxes will be checked for "general cleanliness, graffiti and litter or other rubbish." The boxes can only be placed in commercially-zoned areas, and can't be put on empty or abandoned properties. The property owner must certify that permission has been granted to place the box there.
The fee is $50 per box. Violators can be fined up to $1,000 and will have their permit suspended for up to 60 days. A second violation within a year will bring permit suspension of up to 180 days, and three times within five years can cause a violator to lose the permit for up to five years.
These are all reasonable restrictions that seek to keep the city as clean as possible, and we have the citizens who complained to thank for the new ordinance and for the removal of the troublesome boxes.
So the next time you hear someone talk about how government is not responsive or how one person can't make a difference, think of this local victory — and get busy working to bring about positive change.