Mayor Michael W. Tucker said Wednesday that he wants to crack down hard on residents who place garbage at the curb far in advance of scheduled pickups.
At Tucker's request, a proposed new ordinance was withdrawn from Wednesday's Common Council agenda so a separate garbage law could be prepared to his specifications.
The ordinance, sponsored by Alderman Patrick W. Schrader, D-4th Ward, would have standardized the procedures and penalties for garbage violations, not cutting grass and not shoveling snowy sidewalks. In each case, the city would have administered a 24-hour warning before imposing a fine.
Tucker does not want any warnings for garbage. He wants to immediately fine anyone who puts garbage out sooner than 5 p.m. the day before a scheduled collection.
He said the city's warning system for such violations "is very time-consuming for us. It's just not working. . . . Either we can be serious about cleaning up the city, or we can do nothing."
Tucker said the fines might be $50 for a first offense, $100 for a second offense and an appearance in City Court for a third offense. Those are subject to change, since the new law likely would not reach the Council agenda for several weeks.
"We're spending a lot of money to make this city look better -- $10 million to $15 million," Tucker said, referring to downtown business and street reconstruction projects. "It's up to us to make a good first impression."
Tucker said one reason for delaying the new policy is that Community Enforcement Officer Ernie Rose needs state permission to begin passing out tickets.
On another topic, the Council increased the fine for truck traffic on Main Street from $100 to $250. Trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds are supposed to stay off Main Street unless they are making a deliveries there.
The Council also voted to ask the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Committee to fund a study for reconstruction of the Lincoln Avenue Corridor. That includes the full length of Summit Street and Lincoln Drive, and Lincoln Avenue from Lincoln Drive to Akron Road.
Schrader said reconstruction might be as far as five years away. It could cost $800,000 to rebuild the intersections at Locust Street and Beattie Avenue, he said, but Lincoln Avenue itself would not be widened.
The Council also voted to apply for a state brownfields grant to clean up the former site of O'Byrne's Feed Store at Bristol Avenue and Niagara Street. The store, destroyed by fire more than 30 years ago, left contamination in the form of a leaking underground fuel tank. The lot remains vacant.
A proposal to allow the Police Board to hire two new officers to fill vacancies in the Police Department was withdrawn from the agenda for further discussion, but Tucker said he is sure that it will eventually pass.
The Council also scheduled public hearings for May 4 on City Charter amendments to lengthen the terms of aldermen from two to three years and to remove the city assessor from the list of officials who must live in the city. The new assessor, Vincent M. Smith, who started Monday, lives in Amherst.