Shopping carts clogging parks and washes near your home could become a thing of the past under a new Tucson law.
Retailers will now have three days to retrieve their abandoned carts before the city’s new cart wrangler will corral them and charge a $30 fee.
The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to enact the new shopping-cart ordinance, spearheaded by Councilwoman Regina Romero.
The measure provides up to $40,000 to hire an outside contractor to remove abandoned carts.
Under the ordinance, retailers must retrieve their carts within 72 hours after the city notifies them.
Not every cart will receive a grace period before it’s taken into city custody.
Carts obstructing streets and sidewalks as well as unmarked carts will be impounded immediately.
Retailers will have to pay a $30 fee to get an impounded cart back. If carts are unclaimed after 30 days, the city can sell or dispose of them as it sees fit.
But that still doesn’t mean the retailer is off the hook for the $30.
To collect its fee, the city would apply it to the owner’s next water bill.
The law takes effect Nov. 11.
Last February, the council created a task force consisting of business, government and neighborhood interests to look at possible fixes for the blight caused by abandoned carts.
The result was something that satisfied both retailers and residents.
“It was quite an extensive group and we got through the bumps pretty well,” said Andrea Ibanez, city director of housing and community development.
Tim McCabe, president of the Arizona Food Marketing Alliance, said a similar measure in Phoenix has proved effective in reducing abandoned carts on streets, and that helps both retailers and neighbors.
“We support the ordinance because we understand the issues these carts can create,” McCabe said. “And we support a contract with a cart-retrieval service that returns them to their rightful owners.”
While most retailers already pay for cart-retrieval service, the ordinance will likely encourage those who don’t to follow suit, he said.