Council Democrats vote to protect dumpers
YONKERS, NY - Litterbugs earned a reprieve today as Democrats on the Yonkers City Council voted down a law which would have provided for the use of recorded images as evidence of littering or dumping. As covered by USA Today, WAMC, ABC-7 and others, an identical law on the books in the town of Yorktown has already been used to catch litterers red-handed.
"Littering is bad for the environment and bad for taxpayers," McLaughlin said. "We've done a tremendous job cracking down on litter recently. The trash cam law would have been a great follow-up to our pack-in pack-out law for parks, the increased fines for littering, and our anti-litter marketing campaign including the new trash cans and poster contest, but unfortunately, politics ruled the day."
The legislation does not require the City to purchase any new equipment in order to implement it. However, the minority Democrats on the Council cited this spurious logic when they voted to protect dumpers, causing the legislation to fail 3 to 3.
The ordinance creates liability in any instance where a recorded image is obtained showing the operator or passenger of a vehicle throwing or depositing litter from a vehicle. As explained during a Committee meeting last week, the City could eventually do an RFP for cameras to record its own still images of litterers. The cost would vary depending on the type of camera, and would be remotely monitored by the police department after an infraction has occurred.
"Litter is not only a blight on our neighborhoods, but a time and equipment intensive burden on the Department of Public Works which is a cost transmitted back to local taxpayers," Council President McLaughlin added. "The 'trash cam' ordinance will catch people who are in the act and would be another tool to help reduce the amount of trash dumped in our City. At the next Council meeting, the legislation is certain to pass by a 4 to 3 vote from the Council Majority."
The ordinance was already adopted in the town of Yorktown and is intended to be used for cameras to be installed littering "hot spots" to record driver's licenses plates. Even without installing the cameras, Yorktown has already successfully been able to prosecute litter bugs as concerned citizens have taken video of the act and captured the offender's license plate.