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Helwig seeking increased penalties for illegal dumping

by yarger
Thu, May 23rd 2019 11:35 am

Councilman disappointed to see waste along Liberty Drive just days after cleanup efforts

By David Yarger 

Tribune Editor

Back on May 4, Cub Scout Packs 833 and 824 held its yearly cleanup on Liberty Drive, which Wheatfield Councilman Larry Helwig called a great success. 

It seems the efforts went for not, though, as Helwig informed residents that more illegal dumping occurred just days later at the cleanup site. 

“Unfortunately, around May 6 or 7, somebody took a whole trailer load – there had to have been 30 or 40 pieces of electronics. Everything from large televisions to flat screens to computers, computer monitors, printers. Someone dumped a pile load of them there like two days after it was cleaned up,” Helwig said. 

Helwig added that he received calls and emails from Liberty Drive business Precious Plate, who sponsored and donated to not only the cleanup efforts, but the Scouts, wondering what happened with the cleanup. 

He noted that the to get rid of electronics in the town, one can go to the Water and Sewer Department to properly dispose them. 

“Maybe on garbage day, if there’s a monitor or something sitting at the curb, maybe we need to put a sticker on them saying take it to the Water/Sewer Department. That’s the only way to get rid of them. You can’t just leave them off the curb, because kids are gonna drive by, throw rocks at them, break the screens. Once they break the monitor, Richie (Donner, Water/Sewer superintendent) can’t take them anymore,” Helwig said. 

Donner replied that the department can take them, but there is an upcharge for the town. 

Helwig said, “We’re paying like 15 cents per pound for an old television that’s intact. If you break the screen, we’re paying seven times that amount, because now it’s hazardous waste.”  

As he expressed his disappointment with the illegal dumping after the successful cleanup efforts, Helwig said he hopes fines and violations for illegal dumping in the town can be increased.

Town Attorney Matt Brooks said according to town code, the fine is up to $500 and 15 days in jail, and when it comes to state laws in accordance to dumping, the penalties could be significantly heftier. 

Helwig replied, “I’d like to propose for the next meeting, or the meeting after … I’d like to increase the fine. I think the only way to break this thing is to publicize in the papers that this person got arrested for doing this, or the Town of Wheatfield is enacting stronger electronic waste (laws). People see that and maybe they’ll go somewhere else. We just want to keep them out of our town, because they’re dumping all over the place.”

Supervisor Don MacSwan said the board would need to hold a public hearing regarding the change in law. 

“We did try to trace the equipment that was out there, but it was not traceable,” MacSwan said of the illegally dumped material. “There were identification numbers, but nothing to indicate where it came from.”

Helwig added that majority of the activity goes on late at night in the dark. 

There was also talk of additional Constable Department enforcement in the area.

Constable Brian Kroening replied, “For 20 years, I’ve been going down Liberty trying to catch illegal dumping. There’s a sign when you turn off of Williams (Road) it tells you what the fine is for dumping. We’ve tried. We’re out there all the time. We try to go late at night, but it’s just hit and miss. But we have caught, fined a few on Jagow. There’s been a bunch in my 20 years that we’ve caught, it’s just so hard.”

For additional information regarding special waste collections in the Town of Wheatfield, visit http://www.wheatfield.ny.us/177/Refuse-Collection.

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