Steeper fines sought for illegal trash dumping
by Lisa A. Fraser
Feb 08, 2012 | 3832 views | 0 0 comments | 68 68 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Illegal dumping has long been an issue in many neighborhoods across the city, from Fort Greene to Astoria. Now, City Council members are banding together in support of higher fines for those caught illegally disposing of their personal garbage in public trash receptacles.

Councilman Peter Vallone, along with Councilman Eric Ulrich and Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, are backing a bill to raise the fines for illegal dumping.

If approved, the legislation would double fines for a first offense from the current $100 to $200. A second violation would cost $500, and a third would cost $600.

Brooklyn Councilwoman Letitia James, the chair of the council's Sanitation Committee, is onboard with the hikes.

“It's important that we hit individuals where it hurts, and that is in their pockets,” said James at a press conference held last Tuesday at Jamaica Avenue and 123rd Street in Queens.

Vallone chided one resident on his Facebook page last month when he found out that the resident dumped his personal garbage into a public garbage can in Astoria.

“It’s a huge problem,” he said. “Too many people have seen their neighbors and businesses abusing public garbage cans.”

While Vallone noted that businesses do it because they are most likely trying to avoid paying for private pickup, he said he had no idea why residents abuse the public garbage cans. “Either way, it’s outrageous,” he said.

Quoted in previous reports as saying “maybe [residents] are too stupid to figure out when their pickup day is,” he is sticking to that sentiment and stressed that people need to become aware that the cans are not to be used for domestic trash.

Residents living in illegal apartments might be adding to the public pile in an effort to alleviate unwanted attention in front of the property.

“There are many people who unfortunately probably don't know it’s illegal,” Ulrich said. “Maybe their landlord is telling them to throw their trash out at the corner because they are renting an illegal apartment.”

Vallone said the issue is yet another reason why there should be a crackdown on illegal apartments in the city.

Last August, a contribution of $6,000 each in discretionary funds from council members Eric Ulrich, Elizabeth Crowley and Karen Koslowitz, allowed the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) to collect trash one extra day during the week from corner litter baskets on Jamaica Avenue from the Van Wyck Expressway to the Brooklyn/Queens border.

“Time and time again we hear the complaints of people who say the trash is piling up on the corner and they ask why isn't Sanitation giving tickets,” Ulrich said. “The truth is they are giving tickets, there's just not enough inspectors in the whole city to go around.”

The bill to increase the fines was recently introduced and needs approval by the full City Council, which is expected to vote on the measure this spring.

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