Lynwood fed up with abandoned junk

LYNWOOD - For years, Lynwood residents have been reminded nicely about the city's bulky item pickup policy. All it takes is one call to the trash hauler, make the request, and voila - the bulky item is picked up on trash day. Problem solved.But after having to pick up nearly 3,000 tons of bulky items from alleys, sidewalks and parkways, costing the city an extra $330,000 and spending 9,600 man hours annually picking up these items off the streets, the City Council has said, enough is enough. Council members recently authorized staff to commence enforcement of a new illicit dumping policy. Residents and commercial property owners "can and will" be fined for illegally dumping bulky items. While the policy is not new, the citation component of the policy itself is, said Josef Kekula, the city's acting director of public works. "The dumping of bulky items has become quite prevalent over the last three to four years," he said. "The problem existed back then only in the alleys, but now it's everywhere. It's gotten to the point where it's affecting the quality of life in the city. It needs to be addressed." Under this new policy, starting on Feb. 1 residents will receive warnings and notices of violations for the first 30 days. The 30-day grace period will include outreach and an education campaign by both the city and the city's trash and waste hauler, Consolidated Disposal Services. But after the grace period, administrative citations will begin at $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second offense and $500 for the third and any subsequent offenses. The growing illicit dumping is also placing an undue economic burden on the city and it diverts limited resources that can be better utilized on maintenance and repairs of street, parks and other facilities, said Kekula. "The volume of debris has now reached a point where at times our staff is having a difficult time keeping up with demand," he said. "The cost of having to pick up bulky items has reached $300,000 on a yearly basis, when we already have a program in place with the city's trash and waste hauler. We're already paying for that service but when residents don't follow the procedure, then the city has to go and pick up the bulky items. Residents can help save that $300,000 by following the procedures so that the money can be used on more important issues, like sidewalk repairs or maintenance." Residents and commercial property owners who want to throw away such large bulky items such as mattresses, furniture, tires or any type of bulky item that doesn't fit in the designated garbage bins can call Consolidated Disposal Services and request a pick-up. The new policy targets residents and commercial property owners who set bulky trash items on their curbside on any other day other than their designated trash day. The new policy states that residents must wait until the day of their scheduled trash day for pickups otherwise face fines. "The key component of it all is that we want to keep the city clean," said Kekula. "Everyone should want that."

********** Published: January 17, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 40