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Improper tagging of trash carries new fine

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By The Staff

TELL CITY - Still willing to excuse the occasional mistake but wanting to take a harder line against repeat violators of the city's trash-tagging rules, the Tell City Common Council voted Monday to adopt an ordinance allowing for fines of $5 per bag leveled on trash in which the required tags are missing or have been torn in half or otherwise mutilated.

Details of the new ordinance will be published in the legals section of Monday's issue. The change allows crews to pick up bags that aren't properly tagged and to apply the fines on the customer's next bill.

The new rules keep in place a $50 charge the city can assess if crews have to return to a site to pick up improperly tagged trash.

That charge has rarely been leveled as the city's trash department tried to solve problems through telephone calls and letters. However, Mayor Barbara Ewing said the problem of untagged trash remains.

"Though there was a slight improvement for a while, it's back to being an ongoing problem," she said.

Crews aren't obliged to pick up non-tagged trash, but summer heat and scavenging animals often worsen the problems of bags lying uncollected in alleys and along curbs, Ewing said.

Councilman Gerald Yackle asked who will be charged if someone dumps untagged bags of trash in front of another person's home.

Ewing and Janet Damin, office manager of the city's water, sewer and trash office, said the city would work with residents in those situations and Street Commissioner Jeff Everly said illegally dumped trash often includes names and addresses that allow him or police to track down culprits.

Employees of the trash department have documented past problems and know where there have been problems, Everly said.

The ordinance passed 4-1, with Yackle voting no.