-By John Lynds
It’s no secret that East Boston has long struggled with the daily occurrence of trash and litter on its streets. While there has been some major improvements in the overall appearance of the neighborhood streets through new initiatives like adding more barrels, educating residents and business owners about proper trash storage and disposal and cleanups there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in East Boston.
This week, City Councilor Sal LaMattina launched a new pilot program in the Jeffries Point neighborhood that will eventually spread throughout Eastie.
The program, based on a similar program the Councilor did in the North End will focus on proper trash disposal and enforcement.
“We will start with fliers in English, Spanish and other languages to all residents in Jeffries Point that spells out what the city expects or requires of residents and business owners in regards to trash storage and disposal and litter,” said LaMattina. “That was the first step. Now the second step will be to begin focusing on the problem areas in Jeffries Point with enforcement of current laws.”
LaMattina said code enforcement will first issue warning and then later issue fines.
LaMattina was joined by Frank O’Brien of Boston Public Works Department at a meeting Monday in Jeffries Point to discuss the program.
The two reminded all residents that they have the responsibility to properly dispose of their trash and to keep the sidewalk in front of their residence or business clean and free of obstruction. To ensure residents meet those responsibilities, the state has empowered the City of Boston to pass ordinances that encourage compliance.
“Up to this date, these laws have been enforced in a targeted fashion,” said O’Brien. “Going forward, the laws governing trash disposal will be enforced throughout Boston and residents will be held responsible.”
LaMattina said Boston Police and the Inspectional Services Department (“ISD”) will now be strictly enforcing these laws in Jeffries Point.
LaMattina added that the laws states that residents are not allowed to dispose of trash on the street or sidewalk.
“You must store your trash in a proper receptacle on your own property or dispose of it in a public barrel,” he said. “Failure to comply will result in a fine of $25. If a police officer or ISD officer sees you throwing an empty can or cigarette butt on the sidewalk, they can stop you, ask for your identification, and issue you a fine. An empty can or cigarette butt is not worth $25.”
The city is also requiring resident to put trash in either a barrel with a closable lid or in a standard, heavy-duty, two-ply trash bag. Residents should no longer put out trash in grocery/CVS bags or in boxes. Unsecured trash can blow into the street or become food for rodents. Failure to comply will result in a fine of $25. Residents will also be responsible for putting out trash neatly at the curb by 7 p.m. on your trash day or after 5 p.m. the night before. Failure to do so will result in a fine of $25.
“Residents are also responsible for sweeping in front of your home or business at least once a week,” said LaMattina. “If you live in a building with multiple residents, you must make arrangements to take turns sweeping and cleaning gutters.”
LaMattina said thanks to the new Green Ticket law, unpaid fines will be added to a homeowner’s property taxes. Failure to pay the fines will result in the fines being converted into a tax lien on property.
“If you are a landlord, you are responsible for your tenants and should inform them of these new guidelines we’ll be enforcing,” said LaMattina. “In these difficult economic times, no one needs the burden of a fine. So please fulfill your responsibility as a resident of Boston and properly dispose of your trash.”
Residents can call LaMattina’s Office at 617-635-3200 or Mayor Menino East Boston Liaison Ernani DeAraujo at 617- 635 – 3485 if they have question.