NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WHAS11) -- There are new litter rules you need to know about, and not paying attention to them, could cost you big time.
The city of New Albany is cracking down on litter, and something as small as a cigarette butt could cost you thousands for a third offense.
“We wanted to make sure that the penalty was such that it would act as a deterrent,” said Councilman Al Knable.
Prior to a seven to one vote Monday night, New Albany had litter laws similar to most cities in Kentuckiana, but Councilman Al Knable said they weren’t enough.
“I could’ve probably thrown a can at your feet, or a lit cigarette, and if I was caught doing it the enforcement would have been $25,” said Knable. “That’s basically a slap on the wrist.”
However, New Albany residents like Christi Guersney question whether the council is going too far.
“You don’t see garbage and rubbish flying around in the streets,” said Guersney.
Fines will now be leveled on a sliding scale based on the level of the offense, but questions over jurisdiction remain between the police and code enforcement.
“They get onto people up here for throwing cigarette butts down,” said Guersney. “Corrections officers make them pick it up.”
“There are days when their hands are busy with things that are much more important than me throwing a coffee cup on the street, but there are other days when we can really take time to educate somebody that this is not how we want things to happen in New Albany,” said Knable.
“What happens if somebody is driving down the road, and they flick theirs out in the road,” said Guersney. “How are they going to give them a ticket?”
“My hope is that this is going to be the beginning of a cultural change where we realize hey everybody here wants a cleaner city it’s all of our responsibility to pitch in and do that,” said Guersney. “This isn’t a perfect ordinance, it’s a beginning place. We can build on this and we can nuance it.”
A second offense of the fine could cost you as much as $500 to $1000.
Repeat serious offenders of this ordinance could pay as much as a $2000 fine which can be doubled to $4000 and may even have to take a class and read literature on littering.