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Commissioners discuss littering ordinance

Monday, July 6, 2009

(Photo)
Withers
Litterbugs may want to think twice before tossing trash along Clay County roadways

The Clay County Commissioners discussed during Monday's meeting about potentially drafting an ordinance setting fines for individuals caught littering.

Commissioners' President Charlie Brown said the Clay-Owen-Vigo Solid Waste Management District has offered funding to place billboards up about littering, but feels roads signs may be a better option.

"Having signs along the roads telling people there is a fine for littering would probably be more effective," he said. "However, we have to get an ordinance that outlines the fines in place before the signs can be put up."

Commissioner Jack Withers agreed it was a good idea to set fines, but wasn't sure on how well it could be enforced.

"I'm all for not trashing the county, but how would you enforce it?" Withers asked. "It's difficult as it is to catch all the traffic violators."

Brown said there have been instances where large household items have been dumped randomly along the side of the road and wants to see something done to curtail littering in the county.

"I'm not saying it's trashy, but Clay County is a good area to live in," Brown said. "People are starting to take more pride in cleaning up the area and this would be another avenue to continue making things better."

Commissioners' Attorney Eric Somheil plans to draw up a draft of an ordinance, but wants to check the state statutes to determine what the maximum fine allowable is.

"We don't want to be in a position where the administration costs would exceed the cost of the fine," Somheil said. "Plus, we should put some bite into the fine because if it is as much as $500, it would do a lot to put a stop to littering."

Withers agreed the fine needs to a stiff one.

"It has to be worthwhile or don't do it at all," Withers said. "It has to be tougher than just a slap on the wrist."

In other business during Monday's meeting, the commissioners:

* Gave permission for Clay County Auditor Mary Jo Alumbaugh to work with Somheil on drafting a resolution setting a step-by-step process for writing and applying for grants to ensure all information is well documented,

* Tentatively set a date and location for a County Surplus Inventory Auction at the Clay County Highway Garage, 409 North State Road 59, Center Point, on July 25. No time has been set for the auction to begin, and

* Approved an endorsement resolution for the Clay County Thoroughfare Plan for the Year 2030. West Central Indiana Economic Development District (WCIEDD) Transportation Planner Jackie Mitchell said she included reasonable and appropriate suggestions taken during the public comment period into the final version of the plan, which outlines transportation data from Clay County.

The next meeting of the Clay County Commissioners will be 9 a.m., Monday, Aug. 3, in the Commissioners' Courtroom at the Clay County Courthouse.


Comments
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sounds like a good start I was driving down 900n heading towards kennedy crossing and noticed someone dumped 1/2 their house belongs along the south side of the road It is such a disgrace

-- Posted by 1dogbob on Mon, Jul 6, 2009, at 7:22 PM

does this include all the teens who leave ALL thier trash in the shopping center after thier nightly gatherings? the town would rack up on fines there!!!

-- Posted by shanbilly on Mon, Jul 6, 2009, at 10:03 PM

While I agree that littering and dumping along Clay County roads is indeed ugly, there is another ugly practice happening every day: The choking smoke of burning trash. This is an issue that needs to be addressed. The toxic smoke emitted from burning residential trash in backyards would never be allowed at businesses, they are regulated. It poisons our air and damages our lungs.

Unlike trying to track down the litterers and dumpers, this is an easily enforceable issue - all you need to do is take a drive and look at all the rusty burn barrels in back yards, and then write tickets to people who are burning.

Most all of Clay County residents have access to trash removal.

Here is the kicker: Open burning is already illegal! http://www.solidwastedistrict.com/about/...

As the city of Brazil already prohibits burning, this issue must be enforced at the county level. Otherwise, we have the situation where people on one side of the city limits have to put up with their neighbors across the street burning their trash - with no penalty. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management also recommends local ordinances and local enforcement of open burning violations.

Clay County can easily join other Indiana Counties and ban open burning and clean up the air we breathe! Please put this issue on the table for the health of Clay County.

-- Posted by localgal on Mon, Jul 6, 2009, at 11:28 PM

Does anyone else find it amazing that Brazil does not have an ordinance in place that prohibits littering in the city limits as well as the county? I am sick of hearing how broke our county is, but we do nothing to try to collect extra revenue. Having people actually fined and making them pay would certainly help. It seems as if the people in charge really have no idea.

-- Posted by cubbiefan on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 10:02 AM

If they will actually enforce it, I will go through the trash to find names and addresses on junk mail to ID the dumper...

Yes I too hate the pollution of burning that is going on out in county. It's bad enough to smell the paper but then you can also detect plastics and other toxic smoking things being burned as well and there is no need for that as you can recycle that for free!!

I say fine away and then maybe SOMEDAY the county will be able to afford dumpster stations for people who live here to use. In other states in rural areas, part of property taxes go to manned dumpster stations in several locations in county so people can take their trash there instead of either paying for removal or burning. The recycle bins are there too to make it easy to recycle. They were in fenced enclosures with a county employee who would make sure you were recycling what could be and not dumping appliances etc without paying added fee.

See what a county can do when its infrastructure is strong? This was 15 years ago in southwest Virginia in mountain/small farming area...

We could have it here too if we weren't so short sighted about what taxes could pay for and took care of county. Then more people would be attracted to it and MORE taxes could be collected. Oh well....never here where so many still think taxes are collected just to punish land owners and not an investment in the community.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 10:47 AM

Littering is already an infraction of State Law with a max fine of $1000. All that needs to be done is to start enforcing the State statute.

IC 35-45-3-2

Littering a Class B infraction; littering as a Class A infraction when certain bodies of water involved; "refuse" defined; littering from a moving vehicle

Sec. 2. (a) A person who recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally places or leaves refuse on property of another person, except in a container provided for refuse, commits littering, a Class B infraction. However, the offense is a Class A infraction if the refuse is placed or left in, on, or within one hundred (100) feet of a body of water that is under the jurisdiction of the:

(1) department of natural resources; or

(2) United States Army Corps of Engineers.

Notwithstanding IC 34-28-5-4(a), a judgment of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) shall be imposed for each Class A infraction committed under this section.

(b) "Refuse" includes solid and semisolid wastes, dead animals, and offal.

(c) Evidence that littering was committed from a moving vehicle other than a public conveyance constitutes prima facie evidence that it was committed by the operator of that vehicle.

I have to agree with Eric Somheil that the minimum amount than an individual should pay should cover the administrative costs; however, aren't "court costs" usually an additional expense that is included in paying for having committed an infraction and separate from the actual fine?

I agree with cubbiefan on constantly hearing about how broke we are but seeing little being done to enforce current law that would generate revenue and benefit the county in other ways, too.

Localgirl, on the issue of open burning, research into the Indiana Code reveals that the section on open burning that was used by the City of Laporte as the basis for their ordinance was repealed by Public Law 1-1996, Section 7. I couldn't find a clear-cut prohibition within the law that specifically bans the open burning of trash, although if you read several articles you could probably cite a person for non-compliance on at least one of them. I see a need for a local ordinance that specifically bans the open burning of trash and imposes a fine.

Thanks to Jenny for her observation that there are other ways of solving these problems. Trash disposal is part of the cost of living. As I live within Brazil, trash collection is included in my water bill. My cost is a whopping $10.50 a month for weekly trash pick-up. In places that do not have or require trash disposal, both the individual and the public still pays for it in pollution by solid waste or contaminated air. Wouldn't it be better to pay a small sum of money to reduce the pollution of Clay County?

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 11:28 AM

I think this would be good practice for everyone to pull over all the "car smokers", Who throw out their nasty $#^$*! butts travling from their home to Krogers takine them less than 5 mins and report/fine/kick their !^%$&%$*!

-- Posted by ADJ on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 2:03 PM

Leo:

The other option for trash removal as I have mentioned before is to pay by the bag, thus encouraging recycling so people would have less trash to pay to have removed and more to recycle for "free".

You buy the specially marked bags from local government for let's say $2-4 per bag, then trash company [gov or private] only picks up those marked bags. Other items considered special pick ups and have special fee.

Only when it costs money out of pocket will some ever start to recycle. Until then, they are only moving trash from one spot to another as we never really get rid of it.

Also then the people who handle recycles can have enough volume to have enough money they get from plastics to subsidize the cost of hauling the heavy glass to the recycling center too so glass too can be recycled here in Clay County and one doesn't have to go to ISU to do so. That is what ISU does to encourage recycling in Terre Haute.

Wallace doesn't choose to go that route...yet. Maybe if they changed THEIR rates to per bag instead of per week they would recycle more and they could take glass too...

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Wed, Jul 8, 2009, at 7:51 AM


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