LIMA — If you’re tired of seeing trash on Lima’s streets, it’s entirely possible the culprit is looking right back at you when you look in a mirror.
“The hauler gets blamed for that, but it’s really not the hauler,” said Michael Caprella, utilities director for Lima. “It’s more of the resident who doesn’t bag their garbage or who doesn’t return their container back up by the house, where it belongs.”
City officials want to get the word out so people can change some bad behaviors. Right now they’re starting with information about how you should bring your trash to the streets, but they’ll begin enforcing the rules in the coming months, with the possibility of fines for people who habitually ignore the rules.
“If you’re habitually leaving your container out, it could cost you some money,” Lima Mayor David Berger said. “… The idea is to clean up the neighborhoods and make the city look better.”
The biggest issue appears to be residents not bagging their garbage before placing it into a garbage receptacle, Caprella said.
There are also issues with residents not bringing their carts back to the house. City ordinances say you can’t put your garbage out until 6 p.m. the day before your trash would be collected, and it must be pulled back from the street to your home by 6 p.m. the day after your trash is collected.
City ordinances allow fines for disobeying the rules. On a first violation, the utilities department could issue a citation. If the resident signs and returns it within seven days, there’s no fine. Beyond that, it’s a $25 fine. Subsequent violations within a 24-month period result in a non-compliance administrative fee of $25.
“We’re going to look at a little more enforcement of that because the problem just seems to be exacerbated,” Caprella said.
He also said you can help control how much trash falls out of your receptacle by making sure the lid opening faces the street and the wheels face your home.
“If not, the flapper opens the opposite way when they dump it,” Caprella said. “… If you get it to turn the wrong way, that lid breaks off, and we have a lot of complaints about trash containers being broken, or there’s also more of a chance of debris blowing around.”
The city will give residents some time to learn the rules before enforcing them, Berger said.
“We want to give everyone an adequate heads-up about it,” he said. “There’s plenty of opportunity to be aware, but at some point I think the community expects that people will change their bad habits in this regard and do the right things.”