Cigarette flickers to be ticketed soon for littering in area

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – Cigarette smokers who toss their cigarette butts out of their vehicles may soon face fines for littering according to the representatives of the St. John Beautiful Committee and the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office.

During the committee’s recent meeting Vice Chair Capt. Greg Maurin of the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office announced a campaign to take place in June, July and August which will target smokers who litter.

Illegally disposed butts could cost first-time offenders anywhere from $50 to $500 and four hours of community service, according to the St. John Parish District Attorney’s Office. The penalty would increase for multiple offenses.

Eliminating litter problems and increasing awareness was the main focus of the meeting. Committee members discussed major illegal litter dump sites throughout the parish and what should be done about them. Some of the worst areas were identified as East 13th St. in Reserve, Capt. G. Bourgeois St. and St. Andrews Blvd. in LaPlace and Bailey’s Boat Launch in Ruddock.

Another area of concern was trash accumulating in storm drains. This could help prevent flooding during times of heavy rain.

St. John Parish Code Enforcement Officer Erwin Sansone said he was working to eliminate illegally posted signs. &#8220We need to enhance all areas of the parish in order to make it appealing to potential new businesses and residents.”

Member Mark Howell announced to the committee, &#8220We spend one third of the money we get for the roads and bridges department on picking up trash. It’s a terrible waste of money and manpower.” He added that, &#8220Often, the person calling to complain about trash is the person responsible for it.” Howell stressed the need for a zero tolerance policy.

Committee members agreed that the litter problem would require more grants for cleanup projects and more parish and business involvement.

LSU Ag Center St. John Parish Asst. Agent Kelly Camp suggested implementing educational anti-litter programs in the schools.

Anyone interested in assisting the St. John Beautiful Committee should contact Capt. Greg &#8220Za” Maurin at the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office.