FAIRBANKS — A new law to make a littering prosecution more like a traffic ticket passed unanimously at the Fairbanks City Council meeting Monday night.
Under a new revision proposed by Mayor Jerry Cleworth, littering in Fairbanks is punishable by a $250 fine, which does not require a court appearance to pay.
Although the new law reduces the maximum penalty to $250 from $450, it does not indicate the city is going soft on litterers, Cleworth said. Actually it’s the reverse, he said, since the new law is intended to make it easier to prosecute litterers. That’s because in cases where the litterer doesn’t contest the citation no one will have to spend any time in court.
The new penalty is a uniform amount, while under the old
system, it was in the hands of a judge, he said.
The city now prosecutes only a small number of littering cases each year, Cleworth said. The exact number of cases in recent years was unavailable Tuesday.
The city’s definition of littering, which does not change under the revised law, includes both dropping trash on the ground and accumulating trash on private property that spreads onto someone else’s property.
In cases of trash accumulating on someone’s property, the city will issue warnings before giving citations, Cleworth said. He specified at Monday’s council meeting that the city will not give warnings in the case of someone dropping trash on the ground.
“I have no sympathy for people who litter from vehicles; it’s one of my pet peeves,” he said.
Contact staff writer Sam Friedman at 459-7545. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMcrime.