Editor’s note: This article has been updated to say the ordinance will move forward in the approval process.
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — City leaders in Bakersfield discussed the issue of shopping carts littering our neighborhoods and community. They voted to have property owners and businesses implement shopping cart retrieval plans.
A new shopping cart ordinance is coming to Bakersfield. This is to keep shopping carts on the property and outside neighborhoods. An important note is the responsibility will fall on property owners and not the businesses to keep the carts on the property.
Shopping cart theft is a crime, and you’ll get yourself a misdemeanor for taking a cart. The issue is not just about the crime, it’s about dirtying up the community with abandoned carts and the costs put on businesses that have to replace them.
“Capture the shopping carts because they are a nuisance,” Ken Weir the Bakersfield Vice Mayor said. “They are a menace out in the area and we need to do something about that.”
The new ordinance was approved during today’s Homelessness Ad Hoc Committee meeting. The ordinance now goes to the full city council for approval.
The fines won’t go to cart handlers or franchise businesses but instead to the property owners. It’ll be the responsibility of the property owner to create a cart retrieval plan, and work with the businesses to implement it.
“It truly is about businesses containing their carts and not having to replace those and for the city it’s a big help because it decreases the ugliness that we find from those carts,” Weir said.
The estimated costs for these long-term plans aren’t cheap. For a grocery store it’s expected to cost between $10,000 to $18,000. The city is planning on creating a onetime grant to help offset the initial cost.
“All those carts are now out in the community, and we don’t need that, Weir said. “We’ll invest in this along with the property owners and hopefully in a few years we’ll have a much-decreased situation.”
The new ordinance will have its first reading to the public on June 15, it’s second reading in July, and it will go into effect in August. An adaptation period will be given to existing property owners but in February 2023 it will be fully enforced.