Recycling Education Campaign to Begin
Focus is on Multi-Unit Buildings & Vacant Properties; Goal is for Cleaner Streets, Increased Recycling and Improved Quality of Life Across the City
JERSEY CITY – Mayor Steven M. Fulop and the newly-formed United for Clean Streets, announced today amendments to the city’s solid waste ordinance that will increase fines for violators, specifically repeat offenders and multi-unit property owners who litter, allow debris and garbage to build up on their property, or who don’t properly recycle. The minimum and maximum fines for the egregious act of illegal dumping is also being increased as the administration works to create cleaner streets and improved quality of life citywide.
The revisions came out of monthly meetings United for Clean Streets had with the Mayor and the Department of Public Works on suggestions for how to make property owners, particularly multiple-unit dwellings and absentee landlords, more accountable and to remove eyesores throughout the city.
“What we heard was that the city’s current ordinance lacked any teeth, so there was no real incentive for property owners, particularly large property owners, to follow the guidelines and keep streets and sidewalks free of garbage and to properly recycle,” said Mayor Fulop. “By increasing the fines, we are putting landlords on notice that we won’t tolerate this and feel this is a strong step in correcting this negligent behavior.”
The amendment establishes a minimum fine of $250 for violators of the municipal sanitation ordinance, putting Jersey City’s code in line with other municipalities in the area. It also establishes a $500 penalty for larger rental buildings (5+ units) and puts in place guidelines for escalating fines for repeat offenders. As a result, the courts will also now have more leverage when issuing violations, particularly to repeat offenders. It also raises the minimum and maximum penalties that can be applied for large-scale violations such as illegal dumping to $2,500 and $10,000 respectively.
“The level of repeat offenders in Jersey City makes it clear that our fines are not high enough,” said Nicholas Buffum, United for Clean Streets Steering Committee member. “This ordinance will make them comparable to other municipalities in the area and provides the city with a stronger tool that should encourage delinquent property owners to correct their behavior.”
United for Clean Streets is a group of concerned citizens, businesses and community organizations who are working to create a concrete plan of action to correct Jersey City’s long-standing litter problems.
In addition to the revisions to the solid waste ordinance, which will be voted on for adoption by the City Council at their meeting Wednesday, United for Clean Streets has been working with the Fulop administration on developing a user-friendly garbage and recycling manual for property owners and residents to educate the public on recycling practices and regulations and to reduce litter.
The materials, which will be printed in English and Spanish, will be mailed to taxpayers in the coming weeks and will also be available online. The brochures will help clarify recycling and solid waste regulations and penalties, while also encouraging a more robust recycling program across the city.
“Our goal is for clean streets throughout Jersey City, and we believe that the tougher penalties coupled with a comprehensive education program will reduce litter and dumping and foster an environment where recycling and clean communities is part of the everyday activities,” added Mayor Fulop.