Downtown West Bend officials to ask business owners to pick up trash

By Ralph Chapoco

August 10, 2018

WEST BEND — Officials from the downtown West Bend Business Improvement District will begin sending another set of letters to retailers and property owners within their jurisdiction.

However, instead of addressing the parking situation, the notices will serve to encourage proprietors to care for their storefronts by placing garbage and other items that have been left by guests in the appropriate receptacles.

“Do we maybe send a letter to the bars and the restaurants within the BID and encourage them to put receptacles out in front of their establishments?” asked Board President Mike Husar.

Discussion surrounding the issue began a couple of months ago when one of the board members, Peggy Fischer, complained of cigarette butts accruing on the pavements and streets in the area.

In response, Economic Development Manager Adam Gitter began researching potential answers meant to address the issue. One was to affix containers designed specifically for used cigarettes to the garbage containers that are available in the downtown.

In total, 10 containers would cost officials almost $800. That includes manufacturing and shipping the item.

“My first thought, as a former smoker, if I were to walk up to a garbage can with a cigarette but, I just assume put it out and put it in the trash,” Board member Brian Culligan said. “I don’t know that attaching this receptacle to the trash can is going to make me any more inclined … I guess it is a little redundant, to put a receptacle on a receptacle.”

Nearly everyone agreed, and the discussion transitioned to ensuring that used cigarettes, along with other garbage is placed in the appropriate location, not on the street, curb and sidewalks. In general, they believed that responsibility belonged to the retailers located within the area.

“I think it goes along with Tony’s feeling, and all of our feelings that, we need to take care of our own buildings, sweep and do what we need to do to maintain them.” Husar said. “I don’t think this is going to solve the problem of cigarette butts on the street.”

Officials said they want to encourage retailers to place garbage cans near the entrances of their establishments as a reminder to customers to place their cigarettes in the garbage once they done with them.

Some suggested subsidizing the cost of the garbage cans as an act of good faith to business owners, but others disagreed.

“I guess my concern of saying, ‘we will pay for half,’ what is the next thing that is going to come along for another type of business,” Husar said. “They are going to say, ‘well, you paid for half of this, well maybe you should pay for half of this for me.’ I am not in favor of paying for half.”

In the end, board members decided they would pursue the option of a letter petitioning business owners to place additional garbage cans near their establishments.