Harsher Fines Proposed For Leaving Trash Out Overnight

Longview residents are required by city ordinance to wait until 5 am to take their trash to the curb for pick up. There are several reasons for this, chief among them animals getting into the bags and spreading trash across the neighborhood. One councilman thinks many people are ignoring the ordinance and he wants them to pay.

Trash collectors get an early start loading their trucks up with the city's trash and District 1 Council Member John Sims wants to make sure you know it's your responsibility to wake up before they hit your street.

"The fines in the past have been so low that it really didn't get anyone's attention...if and when, they break the law so many times that they have to pay a 2000 dollar fine, maybe that will get their attention," says Sims.

Sims says he's proposing an increase in fines, varying from 50 to almost 300 dollars for the first offense to 2000 dollars for the fourth offense. He says it's all part of keeping Longview clean.  Sims says, "I just don't want my neighbors cluttering...you know, dogs, cats, squirrels get into, trying to get to that food that's put out there, and it's scattered everywhere and this isn't necessary."

And some residents agree... "usually the people don't know that their trash has been gotten into by a dog and they don't pick it up and it scatters in the yard and on the street so it is a good idea.," says Longview resident Lee Crawford.

But others say it's just not possible to wait until morning..."we're both under doctor's care, disabled and we have to put ours out at night...we're not up and able to take the garbage out by 8 o'clock," says Mildred Henry, a long-time Longview resident.

But councilman Sims says he has a solution for that..."if they're disabled or have a problem, give me a call and I'll work with them on it even if I have to put it out for them.

Some residents think the fines are just too harsh and suggest other ideas.  "Maybe in a trash can, you know, instead of just the bag, in a trash can with a lid that the trash people can get to that, you know, that it's not just a bag," says Christie Coleman.

But Sims says residents will still be fined for that..."it's just that plain and simple."

The proposed increase of fines is on the agenda for Longview's Thursday night City Council meeting.

Tracy Watler/Reporting: tracy@kltv.com