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Yreka Council Takes Steps to Approve Abandoned Cart Ordinance

A long-discussed ordinance to remove abandoned shopping carts from the streets and green spaces of Yreka has come one step closer to reality.

Yreka City Council on Tuesday, October 19 approved the first reading of a new ordinance that attempts to reduce public scourge and cart theft. The council will need to approve a second reading on Nov. 2 before the new law can take effect.

Mayor Duane Kegg said Wednesday morning he hopes the ordinance will be passed and ready to go into effect by January.

City leaders have been working on developing an ordinance for the past few years, including hosting several public workshops.

“It will definitely be an advantage for the city,” Kegg said. “It’s been an ongoing problem for years. Collecting all the carts has cost the city more money. Hopefully this helps alleviate this horror in the community.”

At the council meeting, Kegg said he drove to the city pound on Sunday, Oct. 17, and counted 222 shopping carts, including 167 from Walmart.

Shopping carts removed from businesses and abandoned on public or private property are a public nuisance and a potential health and safety hazard, according to a city staff report.

Currently, city staff are collecting and storing abandoned carts while trying to contact businesses to arrange for the carts to be removed from the warehouse.

This proved to be a strain on the time and resources of city staff, the memorandum says.

The ordinance requires, among other things, that carts be identified, mandatory retrieval of carts by businesses, and disposal of unclaimed carts in a timely manner. The order contains reimbursement of costs for staff time, as well as expenses and fines,

The proposed ordinance includes requiring every shopping cart held or used in the city to have readily visible identification. Cart information will include the identity of the cart owner with a valid phone number or address to return the cart to.

The proposed order also makes it illegal to remove or retain business-owned shopping carts.

Businesses should post notices of the new law. Each owner will need to apply for a unique shopping cart permit from the city.

If consistent violations of the new ordinance occur, action may be taken, including mandatory electronic disabling devices and fines.

Kegg repeatedly added that the carts are full of trash, which only lengthens the time city staff need to deal with the issue. For him, the proposed order puts the onus and responsibility on the owner of the cart.

“It’s not something we should have to pay for,” Kegg said, “I hope we can move forward. It’s very necessary in my eyes.”

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Bill Choy covers sports and general news for the Siskiyou Daily News/Mount Shasta Herald/USA Today Network. Follow him on Twitter at@SDNBillChoy. Email Bill at [email protected] Support local journalism by subscribing today.