Town cracks down on improper disposal

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FORTVILLE — Fortville residents caught dumping illegal materials at the town’s official recycling center will be subject to heavy fines, a new ordinance states.

Residents caught putting non-recyclable materials into the dumpster in Fortville’s Memorial Park, which serves as the town’s recyclable collection site, will face a $250 fine for their first offense and $100 fines for every subsequent offense, said town council members, who adopted the ordinance this week.

The same fine will be imposed on non-residents caught using the dumpster illegally, the ordinance states.

The Fortville Town Council voted to adopt strict penalties for those who break recycling rules after fielding complaints from residents and local leaders who noticed illegal dumping in the park.

Though the town has had regulations in place for years about what can legally be disposed of at the recycling site, residents who disregarded those rules never risked a fine before now, town attorney Alex Intermill said.

The town’s elected leaders hope the new regulations will keep illegal dumping at bay.

“It will only take a few times before the word gets out we’re serious about this,” said Bill Hiday, the town council president.

A decade ago, the Fortville Town Council eliminated the town’s curbside recycling pick-up after realizing just 30 percent of its residents were taking advantage of the free service. To cut costs, a dumpster was placed in Memorial Park, 400 W. Church St., Fortville, where residents interested in recycling could drop off glass, paper, plastic and metal items at their convenience.

But materials that fell outside those parameters were often tossed in or beside the dumpster as well, causing issues when the dumpster was emptied and making the park unsightly at times, officials said.

Security cameras had been placed near the dumpster to monitor the site; but the devices did not deter wrong-doers, officials said.

The ordinance also creates a $100 fine for anyone violating other town garbage-collection ordinances. These include regulations that prevent trash from being put outside of or overflowing out of a garbage bin on collection day.

Three of the town council’s five members were present at the regular meeting Monday evening.

Hiday, Michael Frischkorn and Tim Hexamer voted unanimously to approve the new regulations. Robert Holland and Lenzy Hendricks were not present.

Hiday said he hopes the new regulations will finally eliminate illegal dumping. The board will look to members of the Fortville Police Department and town manager Joe Renner to strictly impose the new regulations.

“An ordinance is only good if you’re enforcing it,” Hiday said. “It was time for us to put some teeth to it.”