At the Sept. 11 Town Council meeting, the body voted to approve an ordinance and increase fines, even more than the statewide cost of $85 per first offense to $125 for a first-time offender. That’s right, willfully throwing, dropping, depositing, disposing, or discarding of litter, garbage, or refuse, will take a bigger bite out of your wallet.
The bill came about as part of the Ordinance Review Ad Hoc Committee, and Lt. Kevin Kidd brought up the fact the town had no specific ordinance dealing with littering. He let the Council know that the language mirrored the state legislation. From there the public had their chance to comment and ask questions, and everyone was genuinely concerned about several issues. However, the conversation quickly devolved quite literally to dog poop. How to define it. Is it a crime if it happens in the woods? Should it be included in this ordinance or as a stand-alone ordinance? Finally, stuff got figured out.
There was some question about increasing the amount of the penalty to make it more prohibitive, something pointed out by CCA adherent, Ruth Platner, which seems disingenuous since that group was in power for a decade and never sought to write any ordinance concerning littering. In the end, the council discussed increasing the fine, but decided to keep the schedule where it was with increasing amounts as offenses increased, and the measure passed on a 5-0 vote.
Now, the efforts to educate the public begin here, hopefully with a mention in the next “Pipeline,” and other local forums, and as one resident mentioned, signage along Route 1 for tourists. It will also give police officers the mechanism for enforcement they need, and hopefully lead to keeping the Town that much cleaner and the reason we all wanted to live here and why visitors all want to come here.