Today’s news:

Vallone bill to keep private trash out of public cans

City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (r.) holds up a box for a 40-inch television that was left by a public garbage can in Richmond Hill as City Council members Eric Ulrich and Karen Koslowitz look on. Photo by Howard Koplowitz
TimesLedger Newspapers

Thinking about filling a public trash can with garbage from your home or apartment? Three Queens elected officials want you to think again.

City Council members Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills), Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) and Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) stood outside the intersection of 123rd Street and Jamaica Avenue in Richmond Hill Tuesday to promote a bill they co-sponsored that would increase fines for trash violators.

If the bill becomes law, fines for the first offense will increase from $100 to $200. A second offense committed within 12 months of the last violation will get you an up to $500 fine and a third strike will lead to $600.

“This is unacceptable,” Koslowitz said at the intersection, where a box for a big-screen TV was placed next to a public garbage can. “We do not want our neighborhood to be messy, so we are going to raise the fines for dumping of household and community garbage.”

The dumping issue gained notoriety after Vallone put a photo of an overflowing garbage can in Astoria on Facebook.

Vallone identified the violator by first name and said his Victoria’s Secret catalog was dumped in the trash.

“[W]hat kind of pig does this? Stuffs up the small opening of a public trash can with a bag of your personal home trash?” Vallone wrote. “That’s why I used some of my discretionary funds on these type cans, so pigs couldnt use them for their home or business garbage. so I took the bag out and went through it. Hey Konstantinos, you left your Victoria’s Secret catalog in there. I have your last name and address. Expect a visit from sanitation to your pigsty.”

Vallone said at the news conference that the bill cracking down on violators was drafted before the Astoria incident and that the legislation will act as a deterrent.

“Part of the answer is increasing the fines,” he said.

Ulrich noted that due to budget cuts, the city cut back on litter basket service and the problem got worse, so he, Koslowitz and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) secured funding for extra service days.

But the councilman said the situation got worse and said violators help discourage economic development.

He noted that Richmond Hill is mostly comprised of first- and second-generation Americans.

“They should not be held hostage by the few bad apples in the community,” Ulrich said.

The councilman said he expects unanimous support for the bill.

“We need to crack down on people who are dumping in our city streets,” he said.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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