Peoria City Council discuss licenses for tire businesses, hoping to stop illegal dumping

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – In a crackdown on discarded tires, the Peoria city council is addressing what it calls a problem with illegal dumping.

Council members said tires illegally dumped throughout the city have been an issue for more than a decade.

During Tuesday night’s city council meeting, those sitting around the horseshoe discussed a proposal that would put tire businesses on notice.

The proposal suggests having a license requirement for every person, organization, company, or business that sells, barters, or exchanges any type of tires.

It would also apply to anyone, organization, company, or business that “fixes, replaces, or disposes of tires as part of a transaction or on behalf of other tire businesses.”

“We believe that at least some of these tires can be traced back to tire dealers, tire shops repair shops,” Ross Black, Peoria’s community development director, said. “But we have no way to verify that without a licensing requirement and then the ability to audit the trail of the tires.”

Under the proposal, individuals or businesses would have to complete a license application from the city’s finance department.

Tire-related businesses would also have to keep detailed records of tire disposals and agree not to dispose of tires at any location other than an approved ILEPA/EPA facility or agree to use a licensed City of Peoria Tire Business if contracting out disposals.

“This would allow us to audit them so that we can see that chain of evidence that the tire came in, the individual paid the state-mandated disposal fee for the tire, and then the tire was turned over to a disposal company and then taken to an appropriate landfill that accepts tires,” Black said.

The proposal also reads “any person found guilty of violating, disobeying, neglecting, resisting, or opposing the enforcement of any of the provisions of this article, except when otherwise specifically provided, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $750.00 nor more than $5,000.00 per violation.”

Black said the city is not recommending a fee for the license as the main purpose is to cut down on illegally dumped tires rather than generate revenue.

Denise Jackson, First District City Councilwoman, said this is a start but encourages strong enforcement to fully tackle the issue.

“Any effort to address the problem is wonderful but in addition to seeing toughening the law, the ordinance, I would like to see a more comprehensive approach so that we can not have to revisit the problem a year from now,” Jackson said.

“We need to put signs up in those hotspots, we need to put cameras in those hotspots, and we also need to put lighting in alleys which are so often a target for tires,” Jackson said. “So, this is a start, but we need to make sure we do more than just apply a band-aid approach.”

During the meeting, council members also questioned how they would identify all the tire businesses, including the mom-and-pop shops, that may contribute to the problem, whether the city has sufficient staffing to monitor these businesses, and possible penalties for violating the ordinance.

Black said they feel confident they’d be able to track down all the established tire businesses. He also said the city would do unannounced spot checks on the businesses to keep them on their toes.

Patrick Urich, city manager, said this proposal would also add additional responsibilities to the city’s finance department by having them take in all the application information and ensure the forms are filled out properly.

“Right now with no additional staff, it’s adding to their workload,” Urich said. “We often talk about the line staff that we have out in the field, but we have to remember there’s back-office staff that has to do all that paperwork when it comes back into city hall.”

Beth Jensen, At-large Councilwoman, suggested possibly implementing a fee for the license to help cover the additional administrative cost and make sure there’s enough staff to fully enforce the proposal.

Jackson said she believes the city manager is going to consider some of the questions and concerns brought up on the proposal before the council officially votes on it.

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