SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a nationwide problem the city of Santa Fe says is dealing with too – abandoned carts. “It’s a serious problem in our city,” said Councilor Carol Romero-Wirth at a Wednesday night city council meeting.

It turns out to be a costly one too. According to city documents, the city of Santa Fe contracts with a private company to retrieve and return carts. Those documents said the city spent $47,000 retrieving and returning carts. In just 10 months, they dealt with more than 3,000 carts.

“I have received so many complaints about carts but I’ve also received feedback from the community that they felt that a lot of retailers weren’t taking initiative and keeping carts,” said Councilor Amanda Sanchez, who is co-sponsoring the bill with Mayor Webber and Councilor Romero-Wirth.

Now, the council is considering a new ordinance to help. “We need help sharing the burden of collecting these carts, which make their way all over the place outside of the property where they originate,” said Councilor Romero-Wirth.

The ordinance would put the responsibility on retailers to keep carts. If the city retrieves and returns a cart to a retailer, that retailer would be fined $150.

“We set the fee at less of what it would cost to buy a new cart,” said Councilor Romero-Wirth. “But we did set it fairly high because again, I think there are things retailers and people in the community can do to keep the carts on their property.”

“I really view this as just a way to encourage a lot of the retail to step up and create systems so that those carts are stored in a better way,” said Councilor Amanda Chavez.

Councilors said retailers could use tools like geofencing or simply have more staff monitor carts on the property. “What we’re trying to do is incentive retailers to take measures to keep carts on their property. The bill is not designed to be punitive,” said Councilor Romero-Wirth.

The bill was introduced last week and will be discussed with public comment later this month.