What: Davis City Council meeting
When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Community Chambers at City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd.
Watch it live: Comcast Channel 16, AT&T U-Verse Channel 99 or on the city’s website at www.cityofdavis.org/media
Regular agenda items: Plastic bag ordinance consideration, fluoridation decision timing, council member salaries, election date options and contribution limits
As requested, city public works staff will hand the City Council on Tuesday a menu of potential ordinances that could curb or entirely eliminate the distribution of single-use carry-out plastic bags in Davis.
If the council approves one of the ordinances — in principle only, as staff would have to finalize the details before bringing it back to the council for adoption — it also likely will decide when the new regulation would be effective.
Jacques DeBra, the city’s public utilities manager, says it’s not likely that staff could prepare an ordinance for adoption until late fall, depending on the council’s schedule, among other factors.
The options the council can choose from Tuesday range from no ordinance at all to an ordinance that would prohibit every business in Davis, no matter the size or type, from handing out single-use carry-out plastic bags to their customers.
In between those all-or-nothing scenarios, council members also could pick an ordinance that would apply only to large retailers such as grocery stores and pharmacies — the most prolific plastic bag distributors in town — similar to what the city’s Natural Resources Commission originally offered.
Businesses affected by that ordinance, 44 in all, would include stores such as Nugget Markets, Safeway, Save Mart, CVS/pharmacy, RiteAid and Target. Smaller businesses and restaurants would be exempt from the ban.
But the council also could choose an option that would include takeout restaurants, in addition to those larger businesses. That would affect about 95 businesses in Davis. Or, council members could include all restaurants, stretching the number of businesses impacted to 195.
Some smaller retailers in town have said recently that if the council decides all businesses in Davis should be subject to the regulation — as some council members have shown an interest in doing — they would prefer that the ban apply to the larger stores first to begin cutting down on plastic bag distribution citywide. That way, the smaller stores could begin to prepare their customers for the coming change.
Several council members, including Councilman Brett Lee and Mayor Joe Krovoza, have said they’d be amenable to this.
The council also likely will discuss charging for plastic bags rather than banning them outright, as Lee has floated in the past the idea of regulating bags that way and giving customers a choice if they want to purchase a bag.
Other variables the council will have to consider Tuesday are whether and how much to charge for paper bags. The Natural Resources Commission earlier recommended 10 cents per bag, which would be kept by the retailers to offset the cost of stocking the bags for customers, according to DeBra.
Meanwhile, it appears that support for forcing businesses to record how many paper bags they distribute, once originally part of the ordinance drafted by the commission, has waned.
“I think the city’s goal is to be supportive of businesses and just help them understand the policy and (with) ways to implement that with the least impact on their operation,” DeBra said.
As far as when the ordinance could go take effect, DeBra says spring or summer 2014 would be a reasonable estimate assuming the council officially adopts the ordinance later this year or early next year.
— Reach Tom Sakash at email@example.com or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @TomSakash