At their recent meeting, the Mount Carmel BMA discussed a new large item collection ordinance, a business-friendly parking ordinance and agreed to apply for the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) assistance to firefighters grant.

The city would use the grant to cover the cost of new self-contained breathing apparatus for the city’s fire department, which have nearly reached their expiration date.

The grant would pay up to around $70,000 and would require a five percent match, which would come to around $3,500. If the city paid for the air packs outright, it could be around $85,000 of city money.

Businesses now required to provide fewer parking spaces

The board also approved a resolution on its second and final reading that would require businesses within city limits to provide fewer parking spaces than in the past.

This change is designed to encourage businesses to come to the town, as there is limited commercial space in the downtown area.

Previously, businesses had to provide one parking space per 200 square feet of retail store space, but the ordinance reduces that to one parking space per 250 feet of retail store space.

“It’s not a big change, but it’s enough to help the businesses out a little bit,” Vice Mayor Jennifer Williams said.

After the first reading, Alderman Steven McClain asked if the regulation could be changed even further from 250 feet to 300 feet; however, Building Inspector Vince Pishner told the board that the change to 250 feet should accomplish the goal.

Large item and bulk waste collection

After much discussion about a bulk waste ordinance that has been in the works since October, the board again tabled it to be further considered at next month’s meeting.

Williams noted at the January meeting that the previous policy resulted in “gross mismanagement of town employees’ time.”

The new policy would specify that city employees will only pick up large items at curbside of the resident’s property if the process can be done safely and if the item can be collected in one trip by one truck using the grapple of the city collection vehicle.

The removal of any item or piece of an item that the town determines it cannot safely remove according to the ordinance’s terms will be the responsibility of the property owner or resident.

The ordinance also asks that residents break down cardboard boxes and other items that could fit in the city’s standard trash bins.

The following items are prohibited and will not be collected: tires, rim, vehicle parts, batteries, paint, bricks, construction materials, concrete, shingles and any other items as established by the Hawkins Co. Landfill.

Public Works Director Jason Salyer also noted that microwaves cannot be picked up. Refrigerators also cannot be picked up, unless it is accompanied by a reclaim sheet, which states that a licensed technician took out the Freon.

The ordinance was tabled to give Salyer time to look it over and offer further input at the next workshop. It will be updated at that point and brought before the board for a vote at next month’s meeting.