Littering in East Baton Rouge Parish will now cost a whole lot more after a new ordinance that was passed by the metro council Wednesday.
Mayor Pro Tem Lamont Cole says while he thinks Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome has done what she can, it’s time for stricter enforcement.
“I think they’ve done a tremendous job, but there’s also responsibility the citizens have as it relates to being responsible and not throwing litter and not littering,” Cole said. “So we wanted to increase the fines to make them more in line with what’s going on in the state as well as other municipalities around the country.”
The ordinance will increase the fee of a first-time offense from $50 to $500 across the entire parish.
“It is an extremely large increase, but for this reason: the fee is so low that people don’t take it serious,” Cole said. “We increase the fee and individuals understand that we’re extremely concerned about what happens when they throw litter out of their windows when they’re driving down the street.”
As to how the new ordinance will be enforced: Police have to see you doing it.
“we’ve had conversations with law enforcement that they will work a little harder to enforce the litter ordinance, and we hope that they will. But, again, it’s a continued conversation,” Cole said.
The Baton Rouge Area Chamber sees the trash as more than just bad for appearance, but also bad for business. Possibly causing people to leave, or not even visit, the city.
“Quality of place is extraordinarily important to BRAC,” said BRAC Senior Vice President of Policy Trey Godfrey. “It’s a quality of life issue, it’s a talent, attraction, and retention issue. We also recognize that placemaking in how our city looks and feels is a really big part of how we look at ourselves and how others feel about our community.”
The new ordinance goes into effect January 1.