The City of Corbin does have an ordinance detailing how garbage is to be set out at the curb for pickup, in containers with sealed lids, but fewer and fewer residents are in compliance.

“About four years ago, we probably had 90 percent compliance,” Corbin Public Works Director Gary Kelly told the commissioners during the regular monthly meeting Monday. “Then it just went wrong.”

Commissioner Trent Knuckles said in driving around along Fifth Street Monday when the trash is set out, it is easy to see where city service ends and residences outside the city begin.

While flimsy plastic cans, most without lids, or piles of garbage bags adorn the area inside the city limits, the county residents use the large heavy duty plastic containers.

“You see people outside the town it is pretty neat, and come into town and it is pretty horrifying what you see,” Knuckles said.

“People aren’t putting anything in cans. They just throw stuff out loose. It is way, way out of hand,” Knuckles added.

Corbin Code Enforcement Office Frank Burke said despite what the ordinance states about all garbage being placed inside lined cans, the public works crews have made a practice of picking up any garbage that is set out by residents.

“They (residents) think they can set anything out anytime and they will come along and pick it up,” Burke said.

Burke said the ordinance states the owner of the property must provide the garbage cans, even in the case of rental property.

“I would have write up the owners of the house to make them purchase property cans if you want to go that route,” Burke said.

Kelly said while the ordinance states the maximum can size is 32-gallons, public works will accept a 35-gallon can.

That decision was made as it was found the 35-gallon cans are more readily available.

Kelly said he went out on two different routes Thursday and Friday, 790 houses on those two routes were not in compliance with the ordinance.

Kelly said he and Burke have a form letter they are prepared to send to each Corbin residence reiterating the requirements of the garbage ordinance on the size of the cans, that garbage is to be placed out the night before at the earliest and that cans are to be stored behind the residence.

“It has to be inside containers that rats, cockroaches, nothing can actually get to,” Kelly said.

Kelly warned the commissioners that once enforcement begins, they will begin receiving complaints from residents, but said the only way the situation will improve is if the commissioners back the effort.

“You guys have got to stand behind our ordinance,” Kelly said.

Knuckles said after following a garbage truck and seeing what the garbage men deal with, he is amazed that the city can find anyone willing to do the job.

Knuckles said he has seen loose garbage thrown on the ground, garbage set out in cardboard boxes that are left soaked by rain.

“Those guys are picking up wet boxes just full of everything in the world and trying to get them in those garbage trucks,” Knuckles said.

Knuckles said if you walk around any of the neighborhoods, you will see loose garbage that has been blown around.

“I’m for improving our garbage service but as citizens I think we need to be fair to our garbage men,” Knuckles said.

Knuckles said while it is impossible to blanket enforce the ordinance because the manpower to do so isn’t available, you can enforce it to the point that it is more prudent for residents to abide by it.

“If the logic was that you can’t get everybody, you would never get anybody,” Knuckles said.

Kelly estimated that there are 2,000 residences around the city that are not in compliance with the ordinance.

“I think you have got to start somewhere,” Knuckles said. “We can’t let this go on.”

In other business Monday the commission:

  • Took the bids for the replacement of the equipment at Larry Stevens Playground under advisement.

The city received four bids.

  • Miracle Recreation of Kentucky and Tennessee – $88,640 (which includes an optional wheelchair path at a cost of $4,150)
  • Bluegrass Recreation $78,957.45
  • All Recreation $87,450
  • Playtopia $113,245.26

The commissioners agreed to take the bids under advisement until City Manager Marlon Sams could review them and report back to the commissioners.

The old equipment was removed after it failed a safety inspection.

  • Hired Nathan Kirby as a full-time firefighter for the Corbin Fire Department