Millville passes ordinance, sets $99, $250 fines for littering

The Millville Town Council, at its Tuesday, Feb. 11, meeting, voted to approve an ordinance “to establish a comprehensive program within the Town to control litter.”

The ordinance was tabled in January at the request of Town Manager Deborah Botchie, so that more research could be done to address issues that came up at that council meeting.

Littering in Millville is now punishable by a fine of $99 for the first offense and $250 for each subsequent offense. The move had been championed by resident Dave Moeller, who himself regularly walks along roadsides in town picking up trash.

Moeller, who last month remarked that it was time for the Town to “draw a line in the sand” and tackle the town’s litter problem, commended the council on the unanimous passage of the ordinance.

The changes made to the ordinance involve the definition of a “person” to include an “artificial entity” and sets forth language by which developers can be held responsible for litter on construction sites.

Town Solicitor Seth Thompson said the ordinance also allows for contractors or subcontractors to be penalized if they are seen littering on a construction site.

The changes also include “borrowing” from the State’s littering laws regarding littering from vehicles. In this case, Thompson said, if it is unclear who actually threw the trash out of the vehicle, the driver would be held liable, and if the identity of the driver is unclear, the owner of the car would be held liable.

There was discussion in January of adding the possibility of community service as a punishment for littering, but Thompson said that, according to the town’s charter, a fine is the only possible punishment.

Mayor Steve Maneri asked whether trash that blows from one place to another would be actionable under the new regulations. Thompson said, “As soon as it hits the ground and it’s not in an approved waste container, they’ve littered.”

“It’s been a long time coming,” Moeller said of the new littering regulations. “The Town is taking steps to address it, and hopefully there will be more to come, to address this,” he said, after thanking Botchie, Thompson and the council for their work on the ordinance.

 

By Kerin Magill
Staff Reporter