000000_bri_cityhall1

BRIGANTINE — City Council has agreed to discuss an ordinance that would ban single-use plastic bags in the city.

Acting City Manager Roxanne Tosto presented the ordinance to council Aug. 1. The measure would make it unlawful for any commercial establishment, such as grocery stores and drug stores, to provide the bags to customers.

Unlike municipalities such as Longport and Ventnor that have chosen to place fees on single-use bags, Brigantine is considering removing the bags from stores completely.

On the state level, Gov. Phil Murphy has yet to act on a bill that passed the Legislature in June that would impose a 5-cent fee on plastic bags.

Tosto, who said she worked with Solicitor Fred Scerni’s office to draft the ordinance, called it a “working document” and said she still looks to council and residents for guidance on how the ban might be enforced.

The current draft states that violators will receive a fine of no less than $5 and no more than $500.

According to Councilman Rick DeLucry, if the state bill becomes law in the near future, the city could still enact a ban but could not consider changing the ordinance to include any kind of fee.

Beth Kwart, chairwoman of the Surfrider Foundation’s South Jersey Chapter, applauded the city for considering the bag ban. The foundation has criticized the state’s legislation as not being strong enough.

“Clearly the best way to reduce plastic is to not have it available at all, so the ban is really the best model for that,” Kwart said.

Council will hold its next meeting at 6 p.m. Aug. 15.