Monday, July 18, 2011

Will association members have to pay fines for neighbor's poor recycling habits?

The answer is yes if a proposed Miami Beach Ordinance passes and other cities follow suit.

We can all agree - recycling is good.   However, should you have to pay a fine for your neighbor's inability to put a plastic water bottle in the correct trash bin?

This could become a reality for your community if a proposed ordinance, which would fine community associations up to $5,000 each time residents put their trash in the wrong container, is enacted.

Statewide, community associations are struggling to maintain services because far too many homeowners are unable to pay their association fees.   If adopted, this measure could impose additional burdens on already financially strapped community associations.

The proposed Miami Beach ordinance would allow the city to fine community associations up to $5,000 each time the city finds recyclables in the trash, or vice versa.  As we all know, fines incurred by the association are passed on to owners.  Are you prepared to pay for your neighbor's Diet Coke can ending up in the wrong trash bin?

Specifically, the proposal would require city trash inspectors, as well as waste and recycling contractors, to notify the city if they find materials in the wrong trash bin.

Fines would be imposed on the following schedule:
● First violation:  a warning or a fine up to $350;
● Second violation: a fine up to $500;
● Third violation: a fine up to $1,000; and
● Fourth & subsequent violations: up to $5,000.
Furthermore, after an association is found to be out of compliance twice, the waste and recycling contractors can refuse to collect the association's trash.

Click here to read a staff analysis and the full ordinance.

Should you care about this issue if you don't live in the City of Miami Beach? Yes, because frequently once a proposal gains traction in one city, it can spread across the State.

You can e-mail your thoughts on this measure to the Miami Beach City Council.

Miami Beach City Commission E-mail Addresses:

● Commissioner Jerry Libbin -
● Mayor Matti Herrera Bower  -
● Vice-Mayor Edward Tobin -
● Commissioner Jorge Exposito -
● Commissioner Michael Gongora -
● Commissioner Jonah Wolfson -
● Commissioner Deede Weithorn -

1 comment:

  1. Dear Donna,
    Many of us certainly do not want to pay these fines but what can be done to improve recycling habits in the community? There are those few owners or renters who do not recycle.
    Is recycling of plastic bottles, glass and newspapers the only requirement for residential developments? I understand even fluorescent lights are considered hazardous materials because they contain mercury and should not go into garbage. People also deposit old TVs, computers, and other electronics in dumpsters even though a recycling drop-off center is close by. And the list goes on. The Rules and Regulations should probably describe what is required. But, is there anything else we could do?