As a result, City Manager Bill Bruton said he would issue a Request for Proposals to see what ideas garbage companies have for dealing with waste generated by shopkeepers and restaurants in the downtown area.
Tumlin raised the issue during the Council's Public Works Committee, which is chaired by Jim King.
"What I'm hearing Council say is they don't want them on the street," King said to his colleagues. "If possible, if technically possible, it's not just that we don't want to see them, we don't want them on the street."
The city pays Waste Management $95,094 annually to service the 14 Dumpsters and 40 95-gallon roll-carts in the downtown Marietta Square area. The receptacles are owned by Waste Management, which the city began contracting with in 2003 on a yearly basis. The Dumpsters, which are on city right-of-way, are positioned to provide trash collection for businesses located around the Square. Bruton said the city charges varying rates to the downtown businesses for the service. In fiscal year 2010 the revenue was about $80,000.
"The city pays the difference because the city uses the Dumpsters for the cleaning of Glover Park for our concerts, events, etc., and daily emptying of the trash cans in the park," Bruton said.
Although some of the Dumpsters in the downtown area were moved in 2008 after members of a nearby church complained about them plaguing Sunday morning church services, Tumlin is now calling for all Dumpsters around the Square to be placed out of sight.
"I have an office off Hansell Street, and we have a 25-pound rat as a pet," Tumlin said, referring to the Dumpster located near his law office.
"We've got those things slapped on the ground and that's unsanitary. It's unsafe. It stinks. It has rats. And I don't care if you take it out every day," Tumlin said. "You look at the county. They have over a million square feet of office and parking and you don't see their Dumpsters ...When Walgreens built theirs they didn't say, 'Well, I don't know what to do,' and we didn't say, 'Fine, don't worry about it.' We made them enclose it. Domino's Pizza, we made them enclose it. Krystal, we made them enclose it. I think the city ought to be a leader rather than violate our own rules."
Tumlin said allowing Dumpsters to be placed on city right of way for the use of merchants was a gratuitous transfer. City Attorney Doug Haynie said in order for it not to be a gratuitous transfer the city would need to charge not just for the Waste Management service, but for the use of its streets.
"You would need to charge rent for that public right-of-way space upon which the Dumpster sits or some type of rent structure," Haynie advised.
Councilman Grif Chalfant said the Council also needed to adopt an ordinance mandating that of all future construction around the Square provide space to house Dumpsters.
Councilwoman Annette Lewis said she also preferred not to have Dumpsters in the area.
"I prefer putting the trash out on Tuesdays and Thursdays ... I don't want them on the Square," she said.
Councilman Philip Goldstein, whose family is the largest downtown property owner, and whose tenants will be undoubtedly affected by any changes, remained unusually silent throughout the discussion.