City warns of clippings in streets

Published 10:37 am Saturday, June 10, 2017

Warnings handed out first, then citations

It’s time for people to stop blowing their grass and leaves onto Ironton city streets, unless they want a citation from the Ironton City Health Department.

Laura Brown, the health department director, told Ironton City Council on Thursday night that they were in the process of getting door- hanging reminders to put on people’s doors if they put yard waste in the streets.

“It will be a friendly warning, then after that it will be citations,” she said. “And that would be for everyone, even you guys. But we are going to do friendly reminders first.”

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She said the reason is that those clippings and leaves are going down into the storm sewers and it needs to stop.

Councilman Rich Blankenship wondered if there was a need for the friendly warning.

“We have been preaching the separation of the water and sewer systems for eight or nine years.

The citizens know there is an ordinance out there,” he said. “When it comes to citations you don’t get a lot of prior warnings. This has been around for quite a few years, not to blow it out there so it gets in the drains.”

Blankenship said that there are several spots where the drains are completely clogged by the leaves and grass.

Vice Mayor Craig Harvey said the issue was that the city has picked up leaves out of the street as a courtesy.

“People have interpreted that as ‘They are going to come around and pick up my leaves or my grass,’” he said. “That’s not the case. I think a re-education may be worthwhile on Facebook, social media and the newspaper to say that it was a courtesy but the manpower is no longer there to do that. It is your responsibility.”

Harvey added that some farmers might take the lawn trimmings and use it for mulch, compost, or other things. He suggested Brown see if she could find any farmers who might be willing to take the stuff instead of throwing it away.

Brown said she did not know how much a grass or leaf dumping citation would be.

Councilman Chuck O’Leary asked where the fine money goes if the health department did cite someone who was fined, say $100, for the violation.

Finance Director John Elam said there is a budgeted line for citations, so the money does go to the health department, not the general fund.

“So that would be an incentive, not to over-write of course, but to investigate and cite. Forget about the warnings,” O’Leary said. “I think everyone has had warnings. The more citations that are written, the more money the health department has to work with.”

Harvey said things like grass and leaves in the street and dumping of trash is an emerging problem in the city.

“And so, writing citations may eliminate it or make just be a consistent revenue source since it is such a problem,” he said.

Brown said the health department is also talking to restaurants about getting bigger grease traps to keep that out of the sewage system too.