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Efforts to Prevent Fly Dumping Cause Hassle for Some Homeowners

Updated: Thursday, April 24 2014, 05:56 PM CDT
SPRINGFIELD --- For months, officials with the City of Springfield have been looking at ways to crack down on fly dumping, and some property owners are upset about their tactics.

The Office of Public Works sent a letter to property owners. It said they were violating a city ordinance that requires them to have trash pick-up service, but some of those property owners say they have been consistently paying for trash removal. Others don't understand why they're being targeted to pay for trash removal, when the property in question is empty. Yet the message is clear: pay for trash pick-up, or get slapped with a fine.

This round of warning letters caught many off guard, including the recipients of the letter above, who tell us they've never been without trash service.

"That's what these letters are for. We know some of the data is not correct. So we send these letters out, asking for the residents to respond," Abby Walden with the Office of Public Works said.

Springfield area disposal providers Allied Waste, Illini Disposal, Lake Area Disposal, and Waste Management all report the properties they serve to the city. Then Public Works determines which properties aren't on that list, but it seems that data doesn't always add up.

"There has been some cases like that and that's just--mistakes are easily made," Walden said.

A property owner who wishes to be identified only as "Amy" owns a home and two rental properties in Springfield. She didn't want to use her last name because she's worried her properties may be targeted for citations in the future, but she can't figure out why one of her properties was cited in the first place.

"We had a house fire. No one was living there for several months. We received a fine for a $250 violation if we didn't carry service, and so we didn't have trash to dispose of, but we were still required to have service," Amy said.

City officials say special situations, like vacant properties, will be dealt with on a case by case basis, but they have no policy for granting exceptions to the rule.

This last round of letters went out early this month. The exact wording of the letters does not give a deadline for property owners to comply. City officials say this letter was supposed to serve as a warning, as part of their more proactive approach to prevent fly-dumping.

If you received a letter, but you have active trash pickup service, Public Works asks that you call your provider. The disposal company can then confirm to the city that you do have service.Efforts to Prevent Fly Dumping Cause Hassle for Some Homeowners

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