Youngstown city leaders held a meeting Tuesday night to come up with a new plan of action to stop illegal tire dumping.
Currently, if you’re caught illegally dumping tires in the city, you would get a misdemeanor littering charge — something city leaders want to change.
So, they are talking with Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost to start prosecuting illegal dumping as a felony. His office has an environmental justice unit and said they are more than willing to help.
If this does go through, Yost’s office would investigate a case, help prosecute the case and send lawyers to all the court hearings. The city would just have to officially refer the case to Yost’s office and provide help when needed.
Both groups say they are looking for specific offenders.
“We’re looking for the habitual business dumpers who do it to save money on purpose on a regular basis. Those are the ones we’re going to be moving forward with felony convictions rather than working through the misdemeanor courts,” said Jennifer Jones, Youngstown’s coordinator of litter control and recycling.
One case the city is looking into is on the property of Lou’s Tires, where almost 6,000 tires were left for the landowner to take care of when the business owners were evicted.
If illegal dumping is upgraded to a felony, Jones says local lawyers and judges would need education on how to deal with those type of cases.