By ARDEN BASTIA The Warwick City Council gave first passage on April 19 to an ordinance that would fine businesses for runaway shopping carts. The ordinance will be up for second passage at the meeting next month. Councilman Anthony Sinapi, Ward 8,
The Warwick City Council gave first passage on April 19 to an ordinance that would fine businesses for runaway shopping carts. The ordinance will be up for second passage at the meeting next month.
Councilman Anthony Sinapi, Ward 8, sponsor of the ordinance, said he gets “constituent complaints (over shopping carts), since [his] ward borders the malls.”
“This bill will bring in revenue in the perspective of if someone fails to properly identify their carts, they will be fined for it,” said Sinapi during the meeting of the ordinance committee. “And if someone fails to properly fail to retrieve their carts, the retrieval fee is for that reason.”
The ordinance dictates that it’s against the law for any person to remove a cart from the business’s premises, and also against the law for any cart to be abandoned on or upon any sidewalk, street, or other public area. Additionally, businesses must provide proper identification on their carts, including owner’s name, address, and phone number.
Businesses must also display warning signs, notifying the public that removal of carts is prohibited. The ordinance makes it mandatory for businesses to lock carts stored outside after business hours.
Businesses that are contacted by members of the public, Department of Public Works, or the Police Department and fail to collect their runaway carts within 24 hours of reporting would be fined $100. Owners are also subject to a $25 fine, per cart, per day, for each cart lacking appropriate identifying information. Per the ordinance, businesses have the option to hire a third-party cart retrieval company to corral their carts.
Sinapi presumes the police or Department of Public Works will be the ones to enforce the ordinance.
Councilman Ed Ladoucer, Ward 5, has “a lot of concerns” about the ordinance “from a business perspective.”
During the meeting, Ladoucer called the ordinance “extremely onerous” and “expensive”.
Additionally, Ladoucer is concerned with the cost the ordinance will place on businesses, especially given the challenges of the pandemic.
“This appears to be something of a financial burden on these stores that have hundreds or more of these carts,” said Ladoucer. “I think this is a very unfair burden to be putting on those entities that happen to need the shopping carts, such as your grocery stores and other stores.” He also noted that the Police Department had not weighed in on the ordinance.
While Ladoucer adamantly opposed the ordinance, other council members support the idea.
Councilman Jeremy Rix, Ward 2, supports the ordinance from a public safety standpoint.
“Issues with runaway carts are also public safety issues,” he said. “These runaway carts get into the roads, they get into other parking lots, people’s cars are getting hit, and they can do some pretty severe damage. Sometimes it’s a matter of scratching the paint or hitting the fender, and it’s a burden on those residents and constituents.”
The council will consider second passage at next month’s meeting.