LEWISTON — Councilors on Tuesday eased fines against landlords when tenants leave curbside trash illegally.

“This is just trying to make it a little bit easier for landlords who, for the most part, are spending their time and effort downtown,” Planning and Code Enforcement Director Gil Arsenault said. “And for the most part, the violations we deal with are not caused by the landlords.”

Councilors unanimously approved the new, reduced fines.

The city fines property owners when trash is illegally left in front of their property. First-time violators paid a $210 fine under the old structure. That increased to $420 for the second and third violations, within two years of the first violation.

Illegal trash would be left when no city collections are scheduled or when the city does not collect trash at the property.

“A number of years ago, we made a provision that if it’s in front of your property on or near the street, we are going to bang you for it,” Arsenault said. “We couldn’t continue to deal with the amount of trash that we had. It’s gotten a lot better, but this is the way we got that stuff off the street.”

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The new structure reduces the first-time violations to $100. Owners with violations on their properties face a $210 fine for the second violation and a $420 fine for the third violation.

The city also shortened the time between violations. The original rule specified that property owners had two years between first and second violations. The new rule shortens that time to six months.

Arsenault said the ordinance still lets the city charge property owners transportation costs to dispose of especially big loads or bulky items.

“If we go by and there is a whole house load of stuff out there, it’s going to cost the city to clean all that up and haul it away,” Arsenault said. “Or maybe you have a bunch of tires or other items that will cost us to dispose of. We can charge for that.”

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