Council to pursue regulation of donation boxes

Council to pursue regulation of donation boxes
The Daleville City Council unanimously approved pursuing regulation of donation bins in the city following suggestions during its work session and meeting from City Code Enforcement Officer Wayne Stripling.

During its work session on Monday, Aug. 6, Stripling showed the council pictures of several bins and one donation truck located around the city, such as near Dollar General, the Daleville Inn and other city businesses.

The donation bins come in several colors. Some boxes are blue and white, and some are green with a recycle symbol on them.

The blue and white boxes are used to collect donations for America's Thrift Stores, which states on its website that it supports the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Stripling said these boxes have changed their colors to the blue and white combination.

"They still (accept donations) to the Alabama Make-a-Wish foundation, but they've changed their coloring on it," Stripling said. "I've caught them at a couple of places. (They) haven't talked to the owners yet, and they're setting up a box out front."

America's Thrift Stores' website calls it a "for-profit company that supports ministries and charities."

"A significant portion of our net profits are donated to local, regional, national and international family-centered ministries and charities," the organization's website states. "This funding enables these organizations to carry out their charitable works. America’s Thrift Stores pays federal, state and local taxes and receives no government funding."

The green donation bins are connected to a website, The Recycle and Help website states the organization works in connection with the Exodus Ranch, a non-profit charity based in Opelika.

He also said some donation bins are surrounded by litter, causing another issue for the city.

"This is part of the problem right here with these bins, too," he said. "This is clothing and shoes only and look at all the junk stacked beside it."

He also said he has been in contact with the America's Thrift Stores marketing director about the setting up of bins and trucks.

"(The marketing director) said he would do anything he had to do, if he has to come to a council meeting to regulate it," Stripling said.

Local municipalities, Enterprise and Dothan, currently do not have any municipal code in place to regulate the placement of these donation boxes.

He said Daleville also has no ordinance to regulate to placement of donation bins.

"It's just starting," Stripling said. "It's not quite a problem yet; it's becoming a problem, but in the future, we don't have anything to regulate this."

He suggested possibly registering the donation bins, having those who put the bins out to provide a copy of the non-profit's status or employing other methods to reduce the number of donation bins in the city.

During the regular council meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 7, Stripling once again told the council something should be done to regulate the placement of donation bins.

"We have to do something about these bins in town or... if more come in from various locations, we're not going to be able to control it," he told the council during the meeting.

In addition to everything discussed during the work session, he also said the bins affect the aesthetic look of the city.

"They come in all colors and shapes and forms," he said. "They're up on the roadway. We've been working for years and years for the aesthetic look of this town, and the last thing we need is boxes sitting out there that don't even contrast with anything else."

The council unanimously approved a motion to pursue the regulation of the donation bins. Mayor Jayme Stayton said the item will be added back to the agenda, and City Attorney Henry Steagall will be consulted on the issue.

In other business, Council member Jo Reese called for motorists to follow the speed limit near Daleville City Schools.

"We just started a new school year," Reese said. "We've got a whole lot of brand new walkers at the elementary school. Some walking now on their own to the high school and new student drivers driving to the high school."

She said seven-tenths of the mile from Bojangles to Fort Rucker is a school zone, which has a set speed limit that drivers should follow.

Reese said she checked with Daleville Police Chief William "Willy" Powell and learned there has not been a fatality in the area, which she said she wants to "keep it that way." She said there has been one serious injury of a bicyclist in the area about 10 years ago.

"I just really want to make everyone aware that it's not going to make a minute difference if you drive 25 for seven-tenths of a mile rather than 30 miles per hour," she said. "If people wouldn't mind just dropping that five miles ¬– during seven-tenths of that is a school zone– if they would drop (their speed) to 25 miles per hour, then the excellent school guard that we have could not only do her job, but we can protect those walkers, and the new drivers and the other motorists.

"I think at the first of the year, it would be a really good time to remind the public of how critical it is. One false step of a child, one distracted driver, you have a whole wicked situation."

The next council meeting will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 21, at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.
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