H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Jun 28, 2013 8:26 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY

As students move out, streets fill with furniture

Cal Poly students are moving out of their homes for summer vacation and many are leaving their belongings behind on sidewalks and dumpsters. Some are even setting things like sofas on fire.

Rigo Vega has spent 27 years disposing city trash, and every year around this time, his days get a little longer.

"This last two weeks we've put in 14 or 15 extra hours overtime," said Vega.

That's because, along with his normal route, he's dealing with lots of items left out on the streets.

"Once Cal Poly moves out, you definitely start to see all the furniture on the front lawns. That's kind of how it always works," said one student walking his dog.

That's not to say some don't benefit from the bargain shopping.

"It's a nuisance, but it comes in handy. I found a desk that I'm using," said another local student who just moved in.

However, the extra work has sent disposal costs soaring. Since last year, those costs have gone up $20,000.

"It happens almost every year pretty much," said Vega. "It kind of slowed down the last couple years because of the economy I think, but now this year it's pretty much coming back."

Streets throughout the city are littered with the remnants of last year's student housing; however, it's not the students left picking up the tab.

According to officials with San Luis Obispo Garbage Company, the property owner is on the hook for those costs.

Taxpayers could also have their pockets turned out because when students aren't leaving them on the street, some are setting them ablaze.

San Luis Obispo Fire officials say it's a big problem and it's getting worse. Just last year they were called out to seven couch fires in one night.

According to the San Luis Obispo Fire Marshal, students could face some hefty penalties if caught burning couches ranging from reckless burning to arson. Both are felonies.

Those looking to dispose of their leftover furniture properly can contact the San Luis Obispo Garbage Company to arrange a pick up. The cost is about $25 per home.

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