Millbrae may have funds for cleanup 

With invigorated efforts already in place to make its little downtown trash-free, the city now says it may have the financial room next fiscal year for a full-time code enforcement officer.

Millbrae does not have a storefront improvement plan or a full-time officer specifically designed to crack down on illegal dumping and messy storefronts or to generally prevent the city from looking seedy. But at a special Wednesday session of the City Council and Community Improvement Commission, Assistant City Manager Jeff Killian said the city may have room in fiscal year 2007-08 for such a position.

The city shares a code enforcement officer with the city of Burlingame. It’s been that way since approximately 2002, when the city was in dire budget straits and had to trim the fat wherever it could. Now that revenue is picking up, Killian said a full-time officer, a high priority for the City Council, might be in the cards.

Until then, Community Development Director Ralph Petty said the city is making some changes to keep a better eye on downtown.

Petty has assigned a member of the Parks and Recreation staff to work exclusively in downtown, cleaning garbage cans, taking care of the flower beds and getting rid of thousands of cigarette butts that end up outside places like bars and restaurants.

"There’s hardly a piece of trash downtown now," Petty said.

Petty said he hopes newly installed smoker stations — small boxes anchored outside businesses that are meant specifically for smokers to deposit cigarette butts — will send the message that tossing these into the sidewalk isn’t OK.

Merchants are encouraged to throw away any garbage they see and also do what they can to minimize trash coming out of their businesses, according to Millbrae Chamber of Commerce President John Ford. Resident Marge Colapietro suggested that the city also look into using high school student groups or other youth organizations looking for community service time, which would be willing to pitch in with cleaning up.

Dumping of large items — ranging from bags of garbage and old mattresses to water heaters —remains a problem, however. It’s become such an issue that Dan Lui, operator of Suzanne’s Cakes and Pastries, located at 320 Broadway, said he’s considering surveillance cameras in an alleyway behind his business.

Ford saidthat large Dumpsters, meant only for use by the businesses, are often filled up with garbage from restaurants. He agreed, however, that so-called residential dumping was an ongoing issue.

tramroop@examiner.com

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