Ordinance in Harrisburg would up the penalties for illegal dumping, change trash billing, and more

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Taking out the trash in the City of Harrisburg: City officials continued discussions on how the city can improve sanitation.

Tonight, the City of Harrisburg held its third and final public meeting on sanitation.

Mayor Eric Papenfuse announced new changes to an ordinance, including how people pay for trash each year and increased penalties for people who illegally dump.

People living in the city say trash is a major issue, things like people illegally dumping furniture and not properly disposing of their trash.

The city has a plan though, and the mayor says it would save Harrisburg thousands of dollars.

The City of Harrisburg wants to clean up the trash.

“We want steeper fees for people that illegally dump in our city," said Mayor Papenfuse.

Mayor Papenfuse proposed stricter penalties for people who dump illegally, up to a $1,000 fine, jail time, or both.

Under the ordinance, there would also be help for people trying to hiring legitimate trash haulers.

“We’re proposing trash haulers all have to be registered with the city, so you don’t, ‘hey, I’ll clean up your basement with a fee.’ And then drive around the corner and dump it rather than to dispose of the trash," said Papenfuse.

City Council also encouraged residents to recycle, announcing a new application for residents called Recycle Coach.

Recycle Coach explains what can be recycled and where in Harrisburg.

Click this link for more information on recycling in Harrisburg. 

The city also wants to collect one annual trash fee from residents, rather than sending out monthly statements.

Mayor Papenfuse says that would save the city thousands of dollars in postage fees and the time it takes workers to send the paperwork out.

“We would reinvest it into having a better, more responsive public works," he said.

Also under the proposed ordinance, the owners of abandoned properties would not have to pay the trash fee, a topic of contention in the past, according to Papenfuse.

Neighbors gathered to discuss the proposed ordinance; some came with questions.

“Just need to be clear what this is all about," said Dave Shewmon, a resident.

Shewmon supports having a one time fee for trash collection.

“What they really want to do is get rid of the expenditures of sending out paper bills, and I do understand that," he said.

Some say more needs to be done to make the Commonwealth’s Capital a place people want to be.

“I appreciate the efforts they’re trying to make to catch the people who illegally dump. I think there’s a lot of other things they need to look at not, just the top layer, but the things underneath… like dumpsters sitting on the street all day long," said Marty Dell, a resident, who says more also needs to be done to help people who don't have an alley for their trashcans.

City officials took notes from residents and plan to make necessary changes to the proposed ordinance. Mayor Papenfuse says City Council will make a vote on that ordinance at the July 3rd meeting.

For more information, contact Joyce M. Davis, Director of Communications, City of Harrisburg at jdavis@harrisburgpa.gov, or call (717) 255-3015.