Councilman: 'It doesn't seem fundamentally fair'

Monroeville couple renovating a Norwalk home they recently purchased cannot have their garbage collected - even though they pay city tax.
Scott Seitz2
May 1, 2014


Norwalk city officials plan to revisit the sanitation ordinances after a rural Monroeville resident voiced his concerns to city council Tuesday.

Thomas Smith, of 2863 Terry Road, told council he has purchased the property at 15 Cline St. and is currently working on it.

Smith said, the garbage -- not construction debris -- that is produced at the Cline Street location isn't being picked up by the city sanitation department.

According to city officials who interpreted the sanitation ordinance, since Smith isn't a city resident, the trash can't be picked up — even though Smith and his wife both pay the city's quarter-percent sanitation income tax.

City officials proceeded to say a city resident who doesn't pay the quarter-percent tax still can have his or her trash picked up, but a non-resident who does pay the tax and has invested in the community cannot.

So, Smith and his wife are paying a tax from which they receive no benefit.

Norwalk Mayor Rob Duncan said the easy solution would have been for sanitation just to pick up the trash, but that would have been against the law.

After listening to the discussion, council president Steve Euton ordered a review of the sanitation ordinance.

Euton said Smith is someone who is helping develop the community, and pays the tax, but can't have his trash picked up.

"There has to be some sort of compromise," Councilman Bob Carleton said.

"I'm troubled he's paying the tax and getting no benefit from it," Councilman Chris Mushett said during Tuesday's meeting.

On Wednesday, Mushett's added to his comments.

"This has troubled me for a while," Mushett said. "But, I'm also not sure what the solution is.

"We need to take a good look at this and see what our options are," he added. "On the surface, it doesn't seem fundamentally fair.

"Maybe it's something like changing the definition of a resident or altering a procedure," Mushett said. "Again, on the surface it seems simple, but you don't know what will happen once you open that door.

"It's not as easy as saying, 'Go ahead and pick it up,'" Mushett said. "Maybe this is something that has to go back to the voters."

In the early 1990s, city voters originally passed the quarter-percent sanitation tax.

Norwalk Law Director Stuart O'Hara explained the situation Wednesday.

"The collecting of the tax is for the benefit of everybody," O'Hara said. "The benefit is a clean city and a sanitary city."

O'Hara said city voters passed the quarter-percent income tax Feb. 4, 1992 for a specific purpose.

The ballot issue said beginning March 1, 1992, the continuation of garbage collection services would be for the "citizens of Norwalk."

To change what was originally passed in 1992 would require a vote of the people, the law director said.

O'Hara said if non-residents' trash were to be picked up, it would have to be funded by some other source than the quarter-percent income tax.

O'Hara said changing the definition of "resident" doesn't matter.

"That's not the issue -- what a resident is," he said. "The ballot said, 'citizens of Norwalk.'"


JMOP's picture

So if a landlord owns property, but doesn't live in town the tenets don't get their garbage picked up either?


I was thinking the same thing. You can't tell me that renters have to call and set up trash pick up with FSI or Allied Waste? Ideally (assuming they work) the tenant would be paying taxes as well so it would get picked up, but the. The landlord pays as well? Seems a tad messed up!

I Can Read

If the tenants live in Norwalk why wouldn't they get their trash picked up. I believe the whole point of the story was about who lives in the place, not who owns it.


What I would really like to know is..Who was the Einstein that had that much time on their hands to worry about a couple bags of trash from a house that a person is trying to clean up in this heroin infested town?


Exactly! I'd be willing to let some of my tax dollars go for it. I also pay for separate trash pick up along with the city trash so how about I skip a week?


Oopsy ... Duplicate


Looks like a clear-cut case of: Taxation without representation.

Did anyone in the city admin. ever study American History?

Perhaps Mr. Smith may want to contact the OH AG's office?


Or maybe the media? Looks like a good citizen against city hall story.

Cliff Cannon

You again ? :) Thought you had set sail for East Texas.


Eventually. Busy. Winter's over.

Not to worry, this man of his word told you that he'd buy you a cup o' coffee before he once again joined the Diaspora.

Have a GREAT wkend Mr. Cannon.

Cliff Cannon

Thanks for the update. Glad your back. Here's hoping your horse wins the Derby tomorrow.

Fibber Mcgee



City council can pass generous tax giveaways in order to induce businesses to move into town, but it takes voter approval to pick-up a property owner's trash?

Is the irony of this lost on anyone?


"There has to be some sort of compromise," Councilman Bob Carleton said."
There is no compromise. They pay the tax, they should be afforded the same as everyone else that pays the tax. Why is this so freaking hard to figure out?

Dr. Information

Paying the sanitation tax yet no pickup? Norwalk, get it together.


I read this twice. The way I see it Mr. Smith is a citizen of Norwalk, Just not a resident. The tax is for the "citizens of Norwalk."
citizen (ˈsɪtɪz ə n) —n: 1. Compare alien a native registered or naturalized member of a state, nation, or other political community: 2. an inhabitant of a city ...

resident (ˈrɛzɪdənt) —n: 1. a person who resides in a place: 2. social welfare Former name: inmate an occupant of a welfare agency home: 3. (esp formerly) a ...


Now pick up the fu??ing trash


I bought a home and I'm renovating it. As the workers are there working they have lunch, pop, ect...trash. So I have a trash can in the house, I put it out for trash pickup as I dont want it to be stinking up the house or drawing in the bugs.I stop by after trash removal is over to putcthe can back, only to see it was not taken. So after a couple phone calls I was told that if the house is not occupied they will not take the trash. I was astounded, I pay taxes City, water,property, ect and I can not have my trashed picked up...nope! I guess they would rather I put my trash into someone elses trash (which is also illegal) no real solutions here.

oh my oh my

It sounds like your workers are a bit lazy. Any decent contractor automatically takes their garbage and any left over debris away with them.

thinkagain's picture

After thousands of years of civilization, a simple matter of garbage pickup still perplexes our governmental overlords.


Many tax payers have it even worse. Not only do they pay Norwalk City tax but they also pay city tax to the city in which they reside. This practice is unfair and is basically promoting welfare for local governments. Local governments can’t budget within their means so they tax people to whom they have no responsibility and do not represent. This practice should be stopped or non-residents should be granted representation and the same city wide services that are granted to residents.

Additionally this type of rogue taxation creates a headache for small and large businesses alike. Employers must maintain records and send the taxes to each municipality. When traveling workers spend too many days in a particular city the employee is required to pay taxes to that city thus creating even more paperwork for both the employee and the employer.

I work in the city of Norwalk. I drive on state highways to get to work and the 1/4 mile I drive on a city street is rarely ever plowed and the street lights don't work and are never maintained. Residents of the city get free trash pick-up and recycling, free yard waste pick up, and they can go to the city and get free mulch. I am paying the bill for all of their "free" services and it is not right.

It is time we put a stop to local government’s free ride and forced them to be accountable to all taxpayers.


Taxation without representation? Let the REVOLUTION begin!


The 1/4 tax pays for a portion of sanitation department costs but not all of the sanitation department expenses so the tax is not the sole source of funding for the department. Is there another ordinance on the books that precludes the sanitation department from collecting the trash?


Seems a bit ironic to me how the city just held their annual spring trash pick up, but now has to make a big flipping deal about tossing a couple extra bags of trash from Mr. Smith's property.


Yea, the country is falling apart around us and we can't settle two bags of trash and a tree. Then we wonder why congress is so inept !


OMG, what is this becoming like our government in Washington. You have to be kidding right? The guy is paying his taxes. property not out of the way as its along the route they travel every week, but to politically correct we are not going to pick up your garbage because you don't live here. You cant be serious!! If I'm Mr. Smith I quit paying the tax. Maybe they should relate drugs within the city limit to garbage pick up, then that would mean residents would get garbage pick up every other day. You guys are a joke. Maybe this is a warm up for running for congress.

A Marine Mom

Who @ City Hall is paid to keep track of who is an actual "resident", who is renting properties, which of those rental properties is occupied and by whom, and/or if they are current with the tax liability. Does that person then contact the Sanitation Department and they keep track of whose trash to pick up and whose not to by carrying a list around in their truck(s)? What is going on? In my opinion, this is nothing but nonsense. Come on people!


I think somebody must have a big bug up their a$$.

A Marine Mom

Well, gosh, I am not the one refusing to pick up two bags of a taxpayer's trash. :) All the comments posted and you pick on me? How unfair! :)


I meant that either someone at the sanitation department or city hall has the bug. I agree with you. Sorry if you thought I was picking on you.


City officials proceeded to say a city resident who doesn't pay the quarter-percent tax still can have his or her trash picked up, but a non-resident who does pay the tax and has invested in the community cannot.

Ever wonder why your city is dying and all thats left are Heroin Zombies

Good job !!!