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Tuesday, May 22, 2018
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Vote on donation bin law rescheduled for Monday

PLANT CITY – City commissioners rescheduled a final vote on a law that would ensure that clothing dropped off at donation bins benefits charities and not private businesses.

A problem with the wording in a legal advertisement forced commissioners to postpone the vote from March 10 to Monday. That gave the city enough time to publish a correct ad.

The law was introduced in part because the number of donation bins has proliferated in recent months; city officials say they are concerned that bins are not always operated by charities.

City Manager Greg Horwedel has said some bins don’t benefit charity and some are are poorly maintained, becoming a dumping ground for trash.

Among other provisions, the ordinance requires that owners of bins provide proof that the donations are benefiting charity and that the bins are maintained. The maximum sized bin would be 20 square feet of floor space and 6 feet tall.

A trade organization that represents companies that process clothing, shoes and other donations collected in bins, sent a letter to city officials opposing the law. Jackie King, executive director of the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association, or SMART, wrote that for-profit companies routinely partner with charities to collect unwanted items.

Companies that handle such items play a vital role in supporting charities and help keep old clothing out of landfills.

“While the aim of this ordinance appears well intended, SMART is greatly concerned with its language that would limit required permits to entities registered as charitable organizations,” she wrote.

King said last week that a representative of her nonprofit organization or one of its members may be at Monday’s meeting to voice the objections directly to commissioners.

Commissioners will vote during their regular 7:30 p.m. meeting at City Hall, 302 W. Reynolds St.

Twitter: @dnicholsonTBO

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