Grace period running out on Taneytown trash law NORTHWEST--Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown

December 23, 1992|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

After giving Taneytown citizens three months to get used to the idea, the city soon will be enforcing an ordinance that makes it illegal for residents to put out trash in anything but regulation containers.

The city officials hope strict enforcement of the law will deter citizens from placing plastic trash bags on the sidewalks outside their homes where animals can pull refuse out before it's picked up on trash collection days.

The city will begin enforcing the law Jan. 1. The first time a person is cited, the fine is $25. Each subsequent fine is $50.

"I hope everybody complies because if they don't it will be a madhouse," said City Manger Joseph A. Mangini Jr.

"I was taking my son to school one day and as I went around the city, I'd say about 70 percent of the trash out was in plastic bags," he said.

The ordinance, enacted by the mayor and City Council on Oct. 12, requires residents to use 20- to 60-gallon metal, durable rubber or plastic containers for the disposal of trash.

The containers should be put out no sooner than 12 hours before pickup and must be taken away 12 hours after pickup, the law says.

The city granted the grace period to give citizens time to get the trash receptacles, the city manager said.

Mr. Mangini said the city has not decided exactly how to enforce the law.

"We have done everything possible to educate people about the ordinance and give them fair warning, like putting it in the monthly newsletter," Mr. Mangini said.

"My heart tells me to give people a warning the first time, since the first fine is $25," he said.

"But frankly, as a resident, I'd rather get my container now than be fined," he said. "For the amount you pay in fines the first time, you could get two of them."

Georgia Krug, one of two women who petitioned the council to take an active interest in the city's trash problem, said she thinks enforcement of the law will open the eyes of some of her noncompliant neighbors.

"After the ordinance starts being enforced, there won't be a place in this town that will be able to keep trash containers in stock," Mrs. Krug said. "I think that maybe fining people will work, because money talks with everybody."

The mayor, council members and the city manager all have said they noticed recently that residents are still putting out trash in plastic bags and cardboard boxes.

Mr. Mangini said more than half of the residents do not obey the law.

"I know people are used to putting their trash into plastic bags. When I first moved here, I did it too," he said. "But now I put my bags out in the containers, because I feel that the city officials, and the mayor and council should set examples for the residents to follow.

"And I'd bet these people who put out the bags have plastic containers, but they don't want to put them out because they may get dented or something.

"What they don't realize is that if dogs or other animals get into the bags and put the trash all over the place, the city and the trash collectors are not obligated to pick it up," Mr. Mangini said.

The major reason for requiring the containers, he said, to protect the public's health and welfare.

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