When Miami University students return from winter break, they will find two amended ordinances put in place.
Members of the Oxford City Council voted by a 7-0-0 vote to amend two city ordinances at the Nov. 20 meeting, changing the penalties for a litter and a trashcan violation.
These two amendments were 521.08 and 931.03.
Ordinance 521.08 involves litter violation at one’s residence.
As the former litter ordinance read, those charged with litter that is “unsightly or injurious to others” on their premises would be charged with a level four misdemeanor on the first offense. This is the same penalty as possessing a small amount of marijuana.
According to Oxford Mayor Prue Dana, a fourth degree misdemeanor is a heavy offense that goes on a person’s criminal record and requires a lawyer to erase.
After discussion with the community and Miami University’s Associated Student Government (ASG), the council members agreed this penalty needed to be modified.
“We all agreed that the (former) penalty was too severe and thought it was best to amend this,” Dana said.
Residents charged with this litter violation will be guilty of a minor misdemeanor and subject to a fine of no more than $150, according to Dana. Minor misdemeanors do not go on a person’s record.
Kate Currie, a newly elected city council member, believes the litter ordinance amendment is integral in maintaining the appearance of the Oxford community as well as drawing people to live in the city.
“If we want to encourage people to move to the Mile Square, cleanliness is an important step to take,” Currie said.
Currie was not a council member when the voting took place, but she thinks it is an important issue in Oxford.
Currie also said she wants to see some city codes enforced more strongly, especially property maintenance codes.
Lauren Morrow, a Miami senior, believes the penalty suggested on the former litter ordinance proposal was too harsh and sees the minor misdemeanor penalty as much more acceptable.
“I don’t think the city should impose such strict rules just for littering if it is going to go on a student’s criminal record,” Morrow said. “That can really affect our career opportunities.”
The other ordinance amended, city ordinance 931.03, involves the placement and maintenance of trashcans. It has been changed from a fourth degree misdemeanor to a minor misdemeanor on the first offense.
The ordinance reads that all garbage and waste containers should be stored in the appropriate place no more than 24 hours before trash collection day and removed no later than the end of the collection day, Dana said.
Dana said that the concern students should have with this litter ordinances has to do with leaving Oxford to go home for the holidays.
“Students need to figure out when their trash will be collected and get in touch with their landlords before they leave for Christmas break,” Dana said.
She said the best advice for students is to know what is required of trash collection and the pickup times so that one can avoid being fined.
Dana said the amendments would go into affect 30 days from Nov. 20, the date the amendments were passed.