The city of Fairmont is fighting a losing battle, so it is right to be changing tactics. This week, the City Council warned that the tree and leaf compost site west of town may have to close if people keep dumping junk there. The council also took on the issue of citizens who fail to properly maintain their lawns. The city will now enforce a $25 administrative fee, in addition to a charge for mowing, when residents don't get the job done.
We regard this as a losing battle because there will always be some citizens who abuse the compost site or fail to maintain their property in some way. The city has been helpful in recent years, offering a citywide cleanup in which junk could be disposed of for free. And there are service clubs and others who are willing to help out those who cannot keep up with property or lawn care. But none of this will prevent some people from turning a blind eye to what is good citizenship.
Many people in Fairmont appreciate the tree and leaf dump, and the city is right to request their help in identifying scofflaws who dump junk there. Perhaps some citizens would even be willing to volunteer time to monitor the site. Or perhaps the city could set up a basic surveillance system to keep an eye on what is going on. Of course, once the city starts considering security systems, the costs to operate the site start rising, and then city leaders must question its value. It's too bad that they already are being forced to do so.