Those placing unattended donation bins on private property in Manteca by next year may need to get a city permit to do so and follow basic rules as well as pay appropriate fees.
That could be the City Council’s response to a Grand Jury report targeting the proliferation of donation bins across the county. The council meets tonight at 7 o’clock at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.
The response generally agrees with the Grand Jury report.
The Grand Jury recommendations include:
uenacting an ordinance requiring owners of the bins to receive written permission before placing collection bins.
urequiring owners of the bins to maintain them.
uhaving property owners be held harmless for removing bins placed with permission
urequiring owners of the bins to post signage making it clear the bins are operated by for-profit companies and not for non-profit charities.
Manteca municipal staff noted that the property owners do not have to be held harmless if they remove the bins as they have a legal right to remove any items left on their property.
Since the fee requires a nexus study, should the council decide to proceed with an ordinance work to justify the fee to offset the cost of processing of the permit may not be in place before the start of 2016.
The Grand Jury report noted that often times the unattended collection bins create eyesores with dropped off items strewn about the ground around them.
The Grand Jury noted there has been a proliferation of the bins placed in cities throughout the county often without the permission of property owners.
The Grand Jury discovered the bins placed by for-profit organizations such as USAgain and Discover Books have hurt non-profits that serve San Joaquin County residents.
The agencies with the for-profit bins sell items they collect for a profit in Latin America and Africa.
Also, all of the for-profit bins placed in San Joaquin benefit out-of-state corporations that pay no local or state taxes and provide no benefit locally.
The bins they place often include only small signs to indicate donations are not tax deductible and no not state that donations are exported to foreign countries for resale.
USAgain, according to its website, collected 60 million pounds of clothing from 10,000 donation sites in California and 16 other states during 2011. Most of it was resold for a profit in Latin America and Africa.
In testimony collected the Grand Jury found that clothing donations to non-profits such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army have fallen.
The report also notes the two non-profits do not operate unattended drop-off sites plus always have permission from property owners.
The local non-profits generate local jobs while the for-profits do not although USAgain has employees at Hayward warehouse operations.
The Grand Jury interviewed municipal code enforcement staff including in Lathrop, visited local non-profit donation centers, talked with security staff at Lowe’s on Hammer Lane in Stockton, and questioned property owners who have had the for-profit bins placed on their property.
They visited Goodwill and Shelter Thrift donation centers plus visited 14 for-profit unattended donation bin sites in Tracy, Manteca, Lodi, Lathrop, Stockton and unincorporated portions of the county.