A new ordinance soon may require Chattanooga businesses to have permits and keep accurate disposal records if they handle waste tires.
The new regulations seek to curb tire dumping and improper tire storage, because tires can be fire hazards and "provide habitats for rodents, insects, and other vermin and serve as excellent breeding grounds for mosquitoes that carry diseases," the ordinance states.
In January, the Chattanooga Public Works Department reported waste crews picked up 17,000 tires last year. Code Enforcement had logged 24 tire dumping cases by early April, compared to 16 cases for 2015. Council members have lamented a number of second-hand tire dealers whose businesses they described as eyesores.
On Tuesday, the City Council voted 8-0 in favor of the ordinance on first reading. It has its final reading and vote on May 3, after which it will become law if approved.
"This ordinance is the result of a lot of work to find a way to protect our citizens and roadways from the illegal tire dumping taking place in our cities," said Councilman Ken Smith, who sponsored the measure.
The ordinance will require tire dealers and waste tire haulers to purchase annual $25 permits for each location they operate by July 1.
A decal, included with each permit, must be prominently displayed on any vehicle used to haul waste tires. Separate decals must be purchased for each additional waste tire vehicle at $15 apiece.
The registration and decal fees are meant only to cover administrative costs, Smith has said.
The ordinance also is meant to prevent businesses from leaving "big piles of tires" on their property, he said.
Businesses displaying tires for sale do not have to cover them. However, they must ensure that the tires do not collect water or litter. All other tires must be covered.
The ordinance packs a $50-per-tire fine for transporting waste tires without a proper permit or decal or improperly storing tires. If illegally dumped tires can be tracked back to a tire seller, the dealer will be fined the same penalty.
Councilman Chip Henderson has called the regulations a "good first step" and recommended reviewing their impact a year after they are implemented.
Elizabeth Roderick of the City Attorney's Office also addressed City Council concerns the new permit process might duplicate state registrations.
Tire businesses are required to supply sales receipts to the state, but the city ordinance tracks only disposal records, she said.
Contact staff writer Paul Leach at 423-757-6481 or firstname.lastname@example.org.