The Commerce City Council will consider whether it should regulate the use of “donation boxes” that have sprung up all over town from both for-profit and nonprofit groups.
City manager Pete Pyrzenski brought the matter up at the council’s “work session” meeting Monday night, saying the city had “repeat issues” with one such collection box at a former coin laundry on Washington Street where the city had to clean up items left around the box on three occasions.
“We have no ordinance to control or give some kind of governance to the issue,” Pyrzenski told the council.
Some of the collection boxes serve local nonprofit groups that serve the needy, such as The Potter’s House, but others, Pyrzenski said, are placed by for-profit companies who salvage or sell the donated items. Pyrzenski said there are 24 boxes placed by for-profit groups.
“It’s called a donation box, but what they’re doing is taking stuff to the scrap yard and profiting from it,” he said. Those companies are not currently required to purchase business licenses.
“People just put stuff there they know nobody wants, but the company has to get rid of,” declared mayor pro tem Keith Burchett, who speculated that most of the unusable materials left around such locations are deposited at night.
When Ward 5 councilman Johnny Eubanks asked if Pyrzenski proposed eliminating the nonprofit boxes, the city manager indicated that he was thinking of having specific rules to govern all donation boxes, but he also advised that the council can eliminate all of the boxes if it chooses to. He told the council he will check to see how other municipalities handle the situation.
“We’ll give you some options and then you can decide what you think is best,” Pyrzenski told the council.