AZTEC — The Aztec city commission meeting was canceled Tuesday night when three commissioners Jim Crowley, Roberta Sipe and Eugene Current did not attend.

Without a majority of the commission present, a quorum was not met.

A special meeting will be scheduled for next week. The meeting is expected to address whether to approve construction of enclosures for eight large trash bins located throughout the city.

The enclosures represent the city's efforts to adhere to the rules it asks its residents and businesses to follow.

Once built, the enclosures will bring the city into full compliance with its own code to keep trash containers out of public view.

The work will cost nearly $48,000.

If approved, the three-sided enclosures will be constructed using cinder block, reinforcing steel walls. They will be painted black inside with a uniform "milk chocolate" or reddish-brown color on the outside.

Hartman, Riverside and Cap Walls parks, the Aztec Boys and Girls Club, the Aztec Senior-Community Center and the Aztec Teen Center would have trash container enclosures installed. Three enclosures built last summer would be painted to match the new ones.

"Some of the enclosures will require concrete pads or aprons to aid access to Transit Waste trucks," said Ed Kotyk, the city's projects manager. "They also will need to have bright yellow bollards (concrete-filled guard posts) for protection from trucks backing up during collection.



The 5-foot-tall cinder block enclosures are ideal because they are durable and require less maintenance, Kotyk said.

If the city approves the eight enclosures, it will have greater authority to continue to ask others to follow suit, though not necessarily with the same materials or expense.

"We started over a year ago with about 100 trash containers (besides the city's) that were not to code," said Matthew Clark, a code compliance officer. "We really try to work with people and give them options and enough time to find a workable solution."

Last year, 26 commercial properties and apartment complexes complied. Fourteen built enclosures, nine traded trash containers for rolling carts and two moved their trash containers out of sight, Clark said.

The city plans to work with another 25 cases each year to reach total compliance.

During a commission work session that took up the issue last fall, some local businesses said that the enclosures seemed like a Draconian enforcement during tough economic times.

"My only defense against some who say we're playing favorites or somehow picking on people is that we can only handle so many cases at a time," Clark said. "We just can't throw our hands up and not do anything till we're perfect."

Despite some push-back, a majority comply when notices are sent, Clark said.

Some see the city as overstepping its authority to dictate what citizens can or cannot do on their private property, Clark said.

"Code compliance is a great idea until you receive a notice," he said. "But we have an obligation to meet set standards that enable us to maintain a livable, enjoyable community."

Though Clark filed complaints in municipal court this week against two individuals who ignored multiple notices to comply, they are the first since last summer, he said.

"It's a mind-set. You can't make somebody care," he said. "Ultimately, we only want a chance to talk with people and work together to find a solution, not penalize anyone."

James Fenton can be reached at; 505-564-4621. Follow him on Twitter @fentondt.