Bobby Banks convinced his bosses at City Hall to give rollout yard carts a try. Now, he faces a tougher sell: The thousands of Rock Hill homeowners who will soon be asked to buy them.
Banks, in his second year as public works director, plans a public relations pitch this summer to build support for an idea that has attracted some praise mixed with a good deal of skepticism.
Starting this fall, residents can pay $50 each for carts that resemble the trash bins already used in Rock Hill. Under the plan, loose grass clippings will no longer be collected, unless they're dumped into the carts.
In giving approval earlier this month, the city made a simple argument: Over time, the carts will save people money. They are fairly easy to maneuver. And they can prevent clutter from piling up on curbs and storm drains.
Many people around town seem to like the idea in theory, saying it would create a more orderly way to get rid of sticks and debris. "I see a lot of grass out in the streets," said Clara Veach, who lives in Eastview Oaks off Cherry Road. "It's just something we're used to because we do the leaves like that. The brush gets piled up."
Anita Hall has her own unique concern. Because of back problems, she can't lift a full bag of grass from the ground into a cart. She told her story at a recent City Council meeting and got assurances that she would get some help, even if it requires a special pickup service for people in her situation.
Some homeowners surveyed by The Herald in the Bristol Park subdivision said they probably won't participate. One woman said she would put yard clippings into her regular trash can. Another said she would dump sticks and debris into a natural area in her backyard.
The city considered subsidizing part of the $50 cost, but Banks said he couldn't find a way to make the numbers work in his department's budget. He and others at City Hall believe the carts will catch on over time, once people gain a clearer understanding of the benefits.