Aberdeen City Council considers limiting food donation ability, security cameras, and building standards at latest meeting

The City of Aberdeen is looking to provide greater security in their downtown, while also lessening the amount of garbage and cleanup costs.

At their latest meeting, the Aberdeen City Council discussed a number of measures to assist the city.

The council approved a draft policy regarding the use of security cameras within the area. 

The request from the Public Safety Committee was to provide guidance on the use of cameras installed at various locations throughout the city for public safety and security purposes.

The conversation regarding the policy featured concerns about invasions of privacy, while others stated that the cameras were intended to monitor for illegal activities and would not be throughout the city. That draft policy was moved forward.

In addition, the council had discussion on a number of proposed changes to eliminate cleanup costs and unsightly items locally.

Limiting the amount of food donations being made within the city was brought forward, with staff saying that the amount of food that is being wasted or thrown away has increased cleanup costs.

The Homeless Response Committee put forward a draft ordinance regarding charitable food distribution, saying that volunteers and city workers have encountered large amounts of food and garbage waste being thrown away, in addition to other items such as clothing, furniture, and more.

Staff said that it appears that some people are dropping off bags of food or other items at the homeless camp on River Street, but it has caused additional disposal costs.

Community Development Director Lisa Scott says that this draft was not to eliminate the opportunity for residents to assist the unhoused, but the current system is not working and there are items being left such as raw chicken, that is unusable.

The council and staff reiterated that there are numerous food banks and other community organizations where items are made available, and these donations should be made to them for distribution instead of simply left at the camp under the bridge.

City Administrator Ruth Clemens added that these changes were brought forward because the public asked for them.

The Homeless Response Committee will continue to discuss and make changes to the proposal as needed, and the public is invited to participate. 

The committee was said to have a meeting scheduled on Tuesday, June 20 at 5pm.

In addition, the council also voted on the first reading of an ordinance related to vacant commercial buildings in the downtown area, with an amendment to expand the coverage of the rules outside the downtown and west to Park Street.

The proposed ordinance would set standards for building conditions as far as appearance and safety.

A public hearing will be held at the next scheduled Aberdeen City Council meeting on June 28.

Details on the proposals are available within the latest Aberdeen City Council agenda packet.