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Tweaked, trash ordinance inches on

The saga of the city's sanitation ordinance appears to be coming to a close.

It began early last fall when the previous City Council decided to turn garbage collection over to a private company. Since then, several council members and residents have questioned the hiring of Waste Management Inc. and scrutinized the city's sanitation ordinance.

In November, council members Susan Kirk and Jim Farley questioned what they considered flaws in the sanitation ordinance, which had to be updated to reflect that the city had privatized garbage collection.

They did not agree with a provision that would require people who live in the city for part of the year to pay the monthly garbage collection fee year-round. They said it was unfair to charge the snowbirds the fee when they were not producing trash.

The council had a workshop on the ordinance last month. At the workshop, Farley, Kirk and fellow council member Roger B. Proffer Sr. rattled off problems they had with the ordinance.

In the end, the alterations were limited to clarifying the city manager's responsibilities in overseeing garbage collection and adding language to specify items such as rubbish and biohazardous waste that cannot be burned within the city.

On Monday night, the council unanimously approved the changes without discussion. The ordinance will be presented again for final reading at the council meeting on Jan. 24. If it is passed, it will become part of city law.

In other council news:

+ The council unanimously approved an agreement to lease the city-owned dive shop property on NW Third Street to Manatee Tour and Dive.

The company, owned by Charles Slider, already leases the facilities at the site. Slider must repaint the dive shop building before the lease takes effect on Feb. 1.

+ The council unanimously approved a resolution supporting the creation of a group that will oversee the restoration of Kings Bay.

The resolution will be sent to the state Legislature, which can create a Kings Bay Restoration Council. The Kings Bay Association and Waterfronts Florida Advisory Board also has prepared resolutions supporting the creation of a council.

+ In a unanimous vote, the council awarded Pospiech Contracting Inc. of Inverness a contract to repair a sewer pipe in the area of Crystal Street and NW Second Street. The cost to repair two breaks in the pipe is $8,250.