Anyone thinking about garbage picking in Glenville might want to think again.
Glenville police will be “proactively patrolling, looking for scavengers and issuing the appropriate summons when necessary” during the town’s annual bulk/heavy item pickup that starts Monday and runs through Friday, June 20, according to a news release from the department.
This is the first time police will actively enforce the anti-scavenging law passed by the Town Board in the spring of 2013. Because the law is still new, police will give warnings before issuing appearance tickets, said Lt. Stephen Janik.
Scavenging is defined by the town as unauthorized picking, sorting and removal of solid waste before, during or after disposal. The violation comes with a $500 fine or up to six months in jail.
“If we pull up and advise somebody that it’s against the law and we see them again at another pile … then we will certainly be happy to issue them an appearance ticket,” Janik said.
Garbage scavenging is a serious problem in the town and poses various public safety threats, Janik said.
Some scavengers use equipment trailers that pose traffic issues when stopped along the side of main roads. Scavengers also do not always pay attention to traffic, which puts them and drivers at risk. They have also been known to take items from residents that were not meant for disposal, such as unattended lawn mowers and bicycles. They also often leave a mess behind.
And that’s not all, Janik said.
“It’s probably not an easy feeling for people who live in this town, who enjoy the town for its quiet and peacefulness, to look out their front window at 9 at night and have a pickup truck parked outside their house with people picking up trash,” he said.
Scavengers are free to look through trash in municipalities that have no such law in place, he said. The Glenville law was based on a law proposed in Schenectady in 2012 that did not pass.
“We don’t want this to continue, and we want people to know the law and stay out of Glenville,” Janik said.
The law was enacted for public safety and quality of life reasons, but also to protect the viability of the bulk pickup program provided to residents without any fees, town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said.
The town’s contracted hauler, County Waste & Recycling, uses the valuable items it finds, such as copper, to offset the cost to the town. But as the value of metal has skyrocketed, more people have started scavenging for valuable items, causing the hauler to charge the town more.
The law is meant to target “the obvious scavenger who is picking through for valuables,” Koetzle said.
“We’re not looking to prevent residents from repurposing furniture or anything like that,” he said.
Acceptable items for bulk pickup include furniture, mattresses and bicycles, while ineligible items include refrigerators, hot tubs and tires. A full list of items can be viewed at www.townofglenville.org, under the Highway Department tab.