City fines woman for trash she says is not hers - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/20/10

City fines woman for trash she says is not hers

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By Christie Post - email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – It's time to talk some trash. The City of Lubbock says overflowing dumpsters continue to be a problem in alleys across the city.

Because it is a health and safety concern, officials take the problem seriously, and property owners could get a ticket. In many cases, the property where the dumpster is located is not owned by the person doing the dumping.

However, a City ordinance states that the property owner has one week to clear the trash or face a fine of $150 per day until it is cleaned up.

"A lot of cases, we'll send a contractor to properly remove the stuff and we will send a bill to the property owner," said Stuart Walker, City of Lubbock Code Administrator Manager.

Cathy Butler said she found a mattress, chair and tree branches in the alley by her property. "I received a citation in the mail saying I was responsible for the rubbish in the alley. Unless I could prove that I didn't put it there, the responsibility was on my part. But that did not resolve the issue," said Cathy Butler who received a fine.

Because of a city  ordinance she said she was fined for trash that wasn't hers. "Ultimately by ordinance it's whoever's property that those items are on or adjacent to that's responsible for properly disposing of it," said Walker.

The city said one dumpster services about four houses. In this case the dumpster backs up to Cathy's residence leaving her responsible. They city said on average they receive 250 to 400 calls a week in the summer about problems with lingering trash.

"The longer that stuff sits there, insects, vermin, cats, rats and everything starts growing in the alleys," said Walker.

Monday the city removed the garbage. "They resolved the issue on my side saying they would not put the fine on me, they took the trash off. That's fine and ok today, but I still want the city council to resolve this issue for everyone that doesn't put the trash by the dumpster," said Butler.

But the blame game continues until people responsible are caught. "I don't want to stay outside 24/7, you're not going to catch them," said Butler.

Butler went as far as asking for her dumpster to be moved. But the city said they've received five similar calls Monday and said it's like musical chairs and they can not move them.

Until the problem is solved people will continue to pile up trash hurting their neighbors.

The city said you can call 311 for any concerns or there are three locations people can go to properly dispose of bulk items for free by simply showing their LP&L statement.

  • Southside: 1631 84th Street
  • Northside: 208 Municipal Drive
  • Elmwood: 2002 Elmwood Avenue (closes Friday and will relocate)

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