The Santee City Council is considering how to keep shopping carts in their proper place, rather than be illegally taken and abandoned, becoming a "public nuisance."
The council heard a report from city staff about abandoned shopping carts at their meeting last week, including options for how to stop the thefts, such as requirements for wheel locks, like those recently installed at Target. Council will likely revisit this issue at a later meeting.
25 businesses in Santee use carts, according to the city, and the number of carts taken and found around town are on the uptick.
The city said that currently residents can call the city to report an abandoned cart and they'll call the store to ask that they retrieve it.
City Manager Keith Till said that 7-10 carts abandoned within city limits are collected by the city each week.
"We either deliver them to the store or dump them if they're in bad shape," he told the council.
"I feel we're doing to good of a service delivering them," he said. "We should probably have them come get them."
Till said the cart often aren't usable if they make it down to the river.
Santee Chamber of Commerce Director John Olsen spoke up for the small businesses in town, and coined the toungue-in-cheek term "Cartgate 2014."
"It probably makes sense for large businesses to have locking carts, but the Chamber is concerned about smaller businesses like Dollar Tree or Office Depot who have fewer carts," he said.
Olsen suggested that the city might charge a recovery fee if city finds a cart and returns it.
"To me its a free enterprise thing," said Mayor Randy Voepel. "If your losing carts that are about $250 each- hey, that's your problem. I'm for non-regulation."
Councilmember John Minto breached the topic of homeless taking and using the carts, and made sure that it was policy to connect with them and offer them services to get off the street.
Councilmember Rob McNelis promoted the idea of an ordinance that new carts in town would require cart locks.
"We need something that works for the long haul," said McNelis. "All that works is those cart locks. I saw a guy with two Home Depot carts, one pulling, one towing. Why make it easier to let them make our city look horrible?"
COMMENT: Have you noticed more abandoned shopping carts around Santee? Would you support a wheel lock requirement?