City Councilman Bill Green didn't have to go far yesterday to make his point about unregulated dumpsters in Center City alleys.
Green walked two blocks from City Hall to the 1600 block of Ionic Street, a narrow alley between Chestnut and Sansom streets lined with about 30 dumpsters.
Not one, Green said, had a valid right-of-way permit needed to place a dumpster on a sidewalk.
Some of the dumpsters were overflowing. Almost all of them were marked with graffiti. All could have been cited for fines.
Green is pushing legislation to make it easier for city employees to quickly and accurately determine who is responsible for dumpster problems and then issue fines. He said that the current system requires at least four employees in different city agencies, in part because it is often difficult to determine which business uses the dumpster. According to city law, the user and not the trash hauler is responsible for problems.
Green wants to require electronic medallions for all dumpsters in the city. One city employee equipped with a handheld device could determine on the spot who is responsible for the dumpster, issue a ticket and take a picture to serve as evidence.
Another example for Green blocked the entrance to Ionic Street - a construction dumpster being filled with debris by a crew repairing the facade at 1600 Chestnut Street, which partially collapsed on Aug. 5. Green's staff found no Streets Department right-of-way permit for the construction dumpster. An executive from the firm doing the work later insisted that he had a permit.
With the medallions, one city employee could have settled the question of whether the construction dumpster was legal.
The legislation calls for increased fees and fines, prompting opposition from the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.
Most of the dumpsters on Ionic Street were "two-yarders," so called because they hold two cubic yards of trash. In Green's legislation, the $300 city fee for such a dumpster would go up to $600.
Mayor Nutter in June asked Green to hold the legislation as it came up for final approval in the last Council session before a three-month recess. Behind the scenes, the Commerce Department was waging an e-mail campaign to defeat the legislation.
Green said that he has met with Nutter on the issue and plans to do so again before Council returns from recess on Sept. 17. He remains confident that his 16 Council colleagues would have passed the legislation in June and still support the measure.
"We had 14 votes that day," Green said. "I see no reason for that to change."