East St. Louis officials aim to force residents to pay trash bil - KMOV.com

East St. Louis officials aim to force residents to pay trash bill or move out

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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (KMOV.com) -

For decades, East St. Louis has dealt with people dumping garbage almost anywhere in the city.

It’s an eyesore for those living there and for anyone who wants to move in.

Now, city leaders say they're tired of the mess in their town and are concerned it could lead to a dangerous situation.

Nearly one third of households in East St. Louis don't pay their trash bill, and if the city has it's way, residents will pay up or move out.

“It's shameful,” said interim City Manager Edith Moore. “Our children are to be raised in a clean, safe environment. That's our responsibility.”

Moore says the city is  is filthy. She says for years - as far back as the early 90's -  tons of trash has been tossed into ditches, vacant lots and uninhabited areas. Now the city plans on pushing people to pay their sewer and trash bills.  Giving them 30-45 days to get trash service or they lose their occupancy permit, meaning they'd need to move out.

“We've got to find a way other than sending an undermanned public works department out there to clean up this town,” Moore said.

Officials say they are finding out the trash is not only coming from people in East St Louis. Residents from across the river are reportedly driving over and dumping trash in the city.

Fire Chief Jason Blackmon says decades ago, the department had to remove close to 50,000 tons of trash after several trash fires.

“It needs to be a collective effort from the city and residents,” Blackmon said. “A lot of it is put on the city to make sure we have a safe community, but a lot of it goes back to the residents.”

The city is still working out the legal aspects of the edict. If things got in the city's favor a change could be seen as soon as within three months.

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