MONROE – After having Monday off for Labor Day, the Monroe City Council on Tuesday evening met and made a few decisions that are likely to have repercussions on the Union County city.
No longer are charities or nonprofit companies allowed to place collection boxes randomly across the city. These boxes are often seen in parking lots or at churches, and are used to collect donations from the public.
But Pete Hovanec, spokesman for the city of Monroe said the collection boxes “have become a nuisance,” and have generated complaints because they accumulate trash and are at times placed in parking spaces.
The problem, he said, isn’t the reputable charities, like Goodwill Industries or The Salvation Army. The issue has arisen from so-called nonprofit companies putting their collection tins across the city, misleading the public about the destination of their donations.
“Our staff has concerns about the perception of the donation boxes,” Hovanec said. “We’ve found that they’re collecting these goods and instead of giving them to the community, they’re selling them in Africa or somewhere in South America.”
In a unanimous decision, the Monroe city council voted to only allow certified collection boxes in the city, and even then only allow them on the property of the associated charity.
Shelley Henderson, spokeswoman for The Salvation Army Charlotte Area Command, said if a similar measure were passed in Mecklenburg County, it would harm the charity. The Salvation Army doesn’t have any Monroe collection boxes, as it no longer has a Monroe store.
“If it happened in Mecklenburg, it would have a big impact on us,” Henderson said. “We have boxes at churches and other places, and they serve as a reminder that people can donate. It’s an easy way for people to donate so they don’t have to come all the way to one of our locations.”
Henderson said she didn’t have a way to quantify the impact the fishy collection boxes have on her charity, but said The Salvation Army did catch one using its logo on a collection box.
The goal of Monroe’s decision, Hovanec said, is to prevent the less-than-reputable collection tins from receiving public donations.
To do so, the council amended “Basic Definitions and Interpretations” and “Accessory Uses” in its zoning text.
In other actions, the Monroe City Council:
- Approved a Memorandum of Understanding creating the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization and recommended the creation of the organization. All other municipalities involved must also approve it.
Metropolitan Planning Organizations are federally-designated policy boards for surface transportation, composed of representatives of local governments and transportation agencies. MPOs are required to coordinate transportation planning in urban areas with populations greater than 50,000, including determining the use of federal transportation funds and maintaining regional transportation plans and programs.
Based on the results of the 2010 Census, the population of the Charlotte Urbanized Area increased nearly 71 percent from the 2000 Census, triggering the need to expand the boundaries of the MPO. CRTPO will now include the municipalities of Marshville, Mooresville, Statesville, Troutman and Iredell County to the MPO, which will replace the Mecklenburg-Union Metropolitan Planning Organization.
- Unanimously approved a Zoning Text Amendment to “Technical Review Committee”
The purpose of this text amendment was to modify the language that regulates the city departments’ membership on Monroe’s Technical Review Committee. City staff requested that several city departments (administration, finance, economic development, and parks and recreation) be removed from the Technical Review Committee, and that language be added allowing other city departments and any other applicable outside agencies that are not specifically named to participate on the committee on an ad hoc basis. Hovanec said the purpose of this amendment was to remove superfluous city departments from the Technical Review Committee.