New Yorkers will have to keep their residential trash out of public litter baskets
or face a fine of up to $400 under legislation unanimously approved by the City
At its stated meeting on August 22, the City Council sharply increased fines
for dumping residential or commercial waste in public litter baskets. The council
also approved a Business Improvement District for Sunnyside, Queens, passed legislation
requiring certain payments to city contractors be made electronically and made
a technical correction to the Brooklyn Navy Yard/North Brooklyn Empire Zone.
Trash Cans for Public Use Only, Not Personal
The Department of Sanitation has long estimated that
20 percent of
trash collected from public litter baskets is either residential or commercial
waste. To deter businesses or residents from using these baskets
as personal dumping grounds, Councilmember Michael McMahon introduced
110-A) legislation, which raises fines by approximately 30 to 300 percent.
Under the new legislation, the penalty for the first violation will increase
to $100 to $300 from a range of $25 to $100; the second violation from $100 to
$200 to between $250 and $350; and the third violation will be raised from $200
to $300 to $350 to $400. Higher fines would apply to subsequent violations that
occur within a year of the first violation.
The increased fines, said McMahon, who is chair of the council's Committee on
Sanitation and Solid Waste Management, will free up space in public wastebaskets
and, in turn, keep New York City's streets cleaner.
The problem we have is our public litter baskets become overfilled and the trash
overflows," said McMahon "It's not only unsightly, but (the baskets)
themselves become the source of litter."
McMahon said the Department
of Sanitation will identify violators at its own "discretion," typically
by finding addresses or names from bundled trash in a public basket and from
observation of certain street corners. The legislation, which was approved by
a vote of 43 to 0, also incorporates a
presumption that any trash with identifying information, such as addresses or
names, in fact belongs to the individual who committed the violation.
To fight this presumption, the individual would have to appear before the
Board, officials said. McMahon estimates the Department
of Sanitation issued approximately 2,500 violations for illegal dumping of this
kind last year.
The fines aren't being raised to generate revenue," said City Council Speaker
Christine Quinn. "They are being raised as a deterrent."
The City Council also unanimously approved a Business Improvement District in
585) to boost business in the area. The district will include 92 properties
and 300 businesses.
According to a
the council's Finance Committee, the district will receive $300,000 its first
year, and the funding will be distributed to various projects aimed at cleaning
up the neighborhood, such as graffiti removal, maintenance, sanitation and holiday
As of July, there were
56 business improvement districts throughout the five boroughs, which provide
$83 million in services annually.
No More Checks for City Contractors
At the suggestion of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the council also approved legislation
570-A) requiring all city contractors be paid electronically if their
contract exceeds $25,000. The legislation aims to reduce bureaucracy and paperwork
and save money on postage by mandating an electronic funds transfer for these
payments, which will also help reduce the nearly 800,000 checks cut by the city
The elimination of postage, as well as unnecessary bank costs, is the logical
next step in generating savings for the city," said Councilmember Letitia
James, chair of the Contracts Committee. "This legislation is designed to
help both the city of New York and contractors manage their funds more effectively."
The council also made a minor change
603-A) to an Empire Zone in North Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Navy Yard
after a parcel was inadvertently excluded from legislation approved last year.
Overall, the Empire Zone entitles tenants in the area to certain business incentives
and tax breaks.
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