City Councilman Bill Green hit the illegal Dumpster jackpot this afternoon while taking reporters on a short stroll from City Hall to demonstrate why he is pushing legislation to better regulate Philadelphia's trash-strewn alleys. Just two blocks southwest of City Hall, Green stood at 16th and Ionic streets, gesturing toward an alley crammed with about 30 standard Dumpsters, called "two-yarders" because they hold two cubic yards of trash. Not one of them, Green said, had a valid permit from the city. Some were overflowing. Almost all were marked with graffiti.
Green's legislation would require electronic medallions be placed on Dumpsters, which would allow a single city employee equipped with a hand-held device to determine on the spot who owns the bin and what customer is using it. The city employee could also write up violations and even take a picture of the Dumpster. That process, Green said, now takes four different employees and often winds up with the ticket going to the Dumpster owner instead of the customer, who is responsible under the law for the condition of the Dumpster.
"In order to collect a $50 fine, we spend more than that writing the ticket," Green said.
As we told you today, Mayor Nutter's administration tried to defeat Green's legislation as it came up for a vote in City Council's June 18 session. Green agreed to Nutter's request to hold the legislation and they are now collaborating on the measure. It is opposed by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, which says its members do not want to pay the increased fees in the legislation that will help pay for the equipment and enforcement. For example, a city right-of-way permit fee for a two-yarder Dumpster is $300 now but would increase to $600 in Green's legislation.