New Glenwood anti-bear trash rule $500 fine on 2nd violation
A second violation of Glenwood Springs’ new, tougher municipal trash ordinance that’s aimed at keeping bears and other animals out of trash could mean a $500 ticket for residents, business owners and property managers.
City Council last week unanimously approved the revised ordinance clarifying the rules. It also gives police more “immediate enforcement” tools by skipping a previously required certified letter to be sent to violators before any fines could be assessed.
The goals of the new rules are to prevent repeat problems with foraging bears getting into unsecured trash cans and to put more responsibility on residents to keep their trash better contained before garbage collection times.
“What we want to see is that the trash stays secure in the can all the way to the trash truck and the landfill,” Police Chief Terry Wilson said.
The new ordinance reflects an increase in problems with bears and other animals, including pets, gaining access to trash before collection services have a chance to pick it up.
Glenwood Springs had one of its worst problem-bear years on record last year, prompting the ordinance revisions suggested by Wilson and by Dan Cacho, the area game warden for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Property owners and renters are already required to keep trash in either an enclosed, secure area, such as a garage or shed, or outdoors in a bear/wildlife resistant container prior to trash collection days.
Non-secure containers are to be put out for pick-up no earlier than 6 a.m. on trash day, and must be returned to the enclosed area by 8 p.m.
The amended ordinance states:
“It shall be unlawful for any person, place of business, or occupant of premises within the city to store or permit the accumulations of garbage, refuse or trash, including recyclables, that is attractive to or edible by animals or wildlife.”
That same rule applies to the organizers of any special events, whether its on public or private property, and at construction sites.
The ordinance also states: “It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly leave or store any garbage, refuse, trash, recyclable, food product, pet food, grain, salt, (etc.) … in a manner which may attract or entice animals or wildlife.”
Bird feeders must be suspended or mounted out of the reach of wildlife other than birds between April 15 and Nov. 15, under the revised ordinance.
A first offense nets a $50 fine, while a second offense could cost $500, unless a violator can provide proof of purchase of a wildlife-resistant trash container.
City Councilman Todd Leahy said that may be a bit steep for many people who may find it hard to keep bears out of trash even under the provisions of the new ordinance.
“I’m a hundred percent for this, but that’s a big number for the citizens of this town,” said Leahy, who suggested a $250 fine for a second offense, but ended up going along with a unanimous council in approving the $500 level.
Added Mayor Leo McKinney, “The only way to change behavior is to hit someone in the pocketbook.”
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