Quincy City Councilors will look to implement a new ordinance regulating the use of donation bins throughout the city after the ule received a positive recommendation from the Ordinance Committee Monday night.
Currently, there are no regulations for the placement of donation bins, and so councilors have little understanding of how many bins are on city streets and who is benefitting from them.
The new ordinance would mandate that companies providing the bins get a license from the licensing board. A fee of $150 would apply.
Although the city would be collecting revenue, the businesses allowing the bins to be on their property could not turn a profit from the enterprise.
Furthermore, to be approved, bin companies must be a registered non-profit in good standing with the Secretary of State.
Introduced by councilor Kevin Coughlin, numerous other councilors agreed that the ordinance was needed.
“I think it’s good to charge for these things. They are taking up space, they are unseemly in some spots…but I think it’s important for folks to give to charities that they deem worthy,” councilor Kristen Hughes said.
Councilor Margaret Laforest also lamented the popping up of the pink donation bins in her ward. Not only have the bins been taking away from the city’s other charities, such as the Goodwill Store, but oftentimes the donated books and clothing are sold for profit online.
“The ideal is we want to see non-profits in the city, because that’s the impression. … There are some that will work with the city for the city’s benefits…but there [should be] a way we can contemplate regulating who comes in,” Laforest said.
City Clerk Joe Shea agreed that donations to non-profit companies had gone down with the increasingly numerous donation bin pop ups.
“I assume they are being [shortchanged] when you see a proliferation of these. It’s a convenience thing; you [donate where you are] closer to your house. And everyone has it in their mind that these are non-profits,” Shea said.
To help coordinate the ordinance, Shea said that the fee would be waived for some organizations and that food inspectors could add donation bin checking to their list of duties to regulate them.
The proposed ordinance also outlines the specifics of placement for the bins, discussing what kind of zoning would be needed, where they can be located on site, and that there could only be a maximum of three at one location.
Obtaining a permit would require detailed drawings of site for position, including existing structures, lot lines, pictures of proposed site, and a notarized letter of consent from property owner.
“If passed, everyone would have to register, and if it was a for profit venture, within x number of days it would have to be removed,” Councilor Doug Gutro said.
The matter will be taken to the full Quincy City Council for a final vote.