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Council will mull stiffer litter penalty
Monday, June 25, 2012
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
Martinsville City Council on Tuesday will consider making the city’s punishment for littering more strict.
Littering now is a Class 4 misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $250, on the first offense and a Class 3 misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500, on subsequent offenses. Residents who have complained about litter have told city officials they want those penalties strengthened.
At 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, the council will consider making littering a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in jail, a fine of as much as $2,500, or both. Class 1 is the most serious type of misdemeanor, so no higher penalty would be imposed for subsequent offenses.
Littering once was a Class 1 misdemeanor in the city. Neither City Attorney Eric Monday nor Interim City Manager Leon Towarnicki could be reached for comment on when and why the penalty was reduced.
A city ordinance defines litter as any trash, animal carcass, glass or ashes disposed of on public or private property without the owner’s permission. That includes streets, sidewalks and rights-of-way.
If litter is seen being thrown from a car or truck, the owner or operator of the vehicle will be presumed responsible, the ordinance shows.
Council members will consider the revised littering ordinance for approval on first reading. Final approval, which would make the stricter penalty official, would be considered at a future meeting if the change is adopted on first reading.
The council will meet in closed session at 7 p.m. to discuss a personnel matter and consult with legal counsel.
When it convenes in open session at 7:30, the council also will:
• Hear an update on the search for a new city manager. Council members could decide whether to put off the search until after the Nov. 6 election.
• Hear an update on the redevelopment of the former Henry Hotel uptown from Ray Gibbs of the Phoenix Community Development Corp.
• Consider executing a document showing that it concurs with the city schools’ handling of Virginia Retirement System payment matters.
• Hear a report on the city’s vehicle policy.
• Consider making routine-type budget adjustments.