Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Olmsted County Board has approved changes to the county’s solid waste ordinance that create an administrative enforcement system and accompanying schedule of fines.

The vote Tuesday afternoon followed a public hearing on the issue. The changes, which take effect in 2018, will replace the current enforcement provisions of the ordinance, which makes violations a criminal misdemeanor offense. The revisions approved Tuesday will take the matter out of the criminal justice system, and create new pathways for those accused of violations to defend themselves and appeal any fines.

The fines are mainly aimed at violations by waste haulers or others seeking to illegally dispose of waste, but some of the penalties could end up being paid by homeowners and other citizens. For example, the ordinance states garbage containers cannot be placed at the curb until the evening before the collection day and putting out the garbage earlier could result in a $50 dollar fine. The same fine would apply to mixing yard waste or recyclable materials in with the regular trash.

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