The city council gave preliminary approval to an ordinance to regulate clothing drop-off bins that are ubiquitous throughout the Silk City.
The ordinance bans the placement of clothing donation bins on public property, sidewalks, and streets and requires each bin to have a permit from the city for placement on private property.
A permit will cost an organization $250 per year for a bin, according to the ordinance given preliminary approval on Tuesday night.
Michael Jackson, 1st Ward councilman, said the charity bins, which are ubiquitous in the city, are not properly maintained. He said he is hoping the ordinance which calls for better maintenance of the containers will ensure organizations do a better job taking care of the drop-off bins.
The containers serve as magnets for litter and graffiti. Furniture, large toys, and televisions are dumped at the large donation dumpsters that seek to collect clothing and shoes from residents.
“With this resolution we’re not going to allow those companies to do what they are doing to our city,” said Alex Mendez, councilman at-large. “It’s been out of control.”
The bins are run by questionable charities like Children’s World Hope Foundation and Planet Aid.
Children’s World Hope Foundation came under investigation from television station WBTV in Charlotte, North Carolina. The news report states some of the information posted on the organization’s website was bogus. And it found the items collected using the donation bins end up being sold to a broker and little of that money remained to assist children, according to the news report published in 2013.
More recently, congresswoman Betty McCollum of Minnesota on Thursday called on the federal government to investigate Massachusetts-based Planet Aid after news reports alleged the charity misused federal funds.
Planet Aid denied the allegations, according to media reports. The city will require the organizations to comply with the ordinance 30 days after it is adopted.
The ordinance will be up for a final approval in September. Any bin placed without the requisite permit will be given a 45-day notice after which the city may seize the container and auction of the property, according to the ordinance.
Penalties for violators range from $2,000 to $20,000, according to the ordinance.