LEWISTON — If you litter, you’re going to pay.

That’s the message Mayor Laurent F. Gilbert Sr. wishes to convey in an effort to make Lewiston more aesthetically pleasing in hopes of attracting businesses and people to the All-America City. Littering is a civil violation for which fines of $100 to $500 can be levied.

With a focus of “Keep Lewiston Litter Free,” Gilbert has partnered with the Lewiston Police Department and the Lewiston Public Works Department to combat improper placement of debris and trash.

“Littering is a community problem and truly requires a community response,” Gilbert said. “Residents are being asked to cooperate by not littering. Those who still choose to litter will be cited by the Lewiston Police Department, as such conduct will no longer be tolerated.”

Acting Lewiston Police Chief Michael Bussiere reiterated Gilbert’s stance. “Littering is one of those quality of life issues that the police department will be addressing with stepped-up enforcement efforts for those who choose to not properly discard their waste. Individuals who are caught littering can expect to be summonsed to court and fined if found guilty.”

Gilbert’s focus on littering is part of his Downtown Beautification/Preservation Initiative. The goal is to instill pride in the downtown and within neighborhoods by enhancing the appearance of homes, lots, buildings and parks.

“Littering is illegal, and it costs the taxpayers in the time that Public Works picks up items that have been carelessly thrown away,” Gilbert said. “It also has a negative effect on our community when people are looking at Lewiston with an interest in moving or establishing a business here. Indeed, a clean community is one that is attractive to economic development. With economic development comes jobs, and with jobs comes enhanced financial stability.”

Public Works Director Paul Boudreau is also encouraging residents to become part of a community effort to keep Lewiston litter free.

“Public Works maintenance crews and Social Service Workfare workers pick up litter on a daily basis,” Boudreau said. “Litter is an ongoing problem that has only gotten worse in recent years.”

Boudreau invited residents to become involved in Public Works’ “White Cleaning Carts” program, whereby individuals can volunteer their time to pick up trash with city-provided carts and materials.

Gilbert encouraged enhanced involvement in the city’s “Adopt A Trash Can” program, an opportunity for any Lewiston property owner or resident. Earlier this year, members of the Lewiston Youth Advisory Council painted and designed numerous 55-gallon drums for citywide placement. In exchange for a volunteer agreeing to adopt one of the trash cans, the city will provide one of two options to be selected by the volunteer: 1) a one-unit credit from the annual apartment building solid waste bill, and the volunteer will supply trash can liners, gloves and means of disposing the waste or 2) two punch passes to the solid waste facility and one box of trash can liners and one box of plastic gloves.

Those interested in participating in either the White Cleaning Cart or Adopt a Trash Can program can contact the Lewiston Public Works Department at 513-3140 or TTY/TDD: 513-3007, or download an Adopt A Trash Can application at http://www.ci.lewiston.me.us/news/2009/06-17-09a.htm.

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