A new trash code in Harrisburg will give the city greater enforcement capabilities to combat acts like illegal dumping, improper disposal of construction and hazardous materials and excessive accumulation of waste. Harrisburg City Council voted in favor of enacting the new aimed at cleaning up the city by making recycling free and mandatory and improving enforcement against those who illegally dump trash in the city.
Serious violations could result in fines of $1,000 and imprisonment up to 90 days. Less serious violations, like failing to bag garbage, can result in fines of $100 for the first offense, $250 for the second and $500 for subsequent offenses. The director of Public Works would be able to appoint enforcement officers with the authority to issue citations for violations of the ordinance.
The bill was first introduced in May, and city officials held a series of public meetings about the code over the last two months. Councilman Westburn Majors said the biggest concern he heard at those meetings was about annual billing. Currently, residents receive a bill of $32 per month for their trash collection. The new code originally proposed billing residents once per year with the trash bill coming in the same mailing as the resident’s tax bill. Not only would they be receiving one large bill instead of 12 smaller ones, some also thought their property could be put at risk. There was an option for residents to continue to be billed monthly, but those payments would have been automatically withdrawn from the resident’s checking account.