FAIRBANKS — A proposed change in the City of Fairbanks littering law would make the penalty more like a traffic ticket and less like a criminal offense.

An ordinance introduced by Fairbanks Mayor Jerry Cleworth would remove littering from a list of offenses that require a court appearance. People cited for littering instead would face a $250 ticket.

Cleworth said he proposed the change to save time for both the city and people cited for littering. Under the current system, the city has to issue a court summons and go to court appointments to prosecute someone for littering, a time-consuming, expensive process. The current penalty is up to a $450 fine and up to 40 hours community service picking up trash.

The city charges few people with littering, Cleworth said. The city would not change its practice of warning people before citing them for littering under the new system, he said. Ticket recipients also could still choose to challenge their tickets in court, he said.

The city’s definition of littering, which doesn’t change under the proposed change, includes both dropping trash on the ground and accumulating trash on private property that spreads onto someone else’s property.

The second and final reading of Cleworth’s ordinance is up for a vote at next Monday’s City Council meeting.

Contact staff writer Sam Friedman at 459-7545. Follow him on Twitter: