Updated after the jump with response from city Councilman Jose Huizar's office.

The city of Los Angeles continues to find new and inventive ways to essentially tax residents as it struggles to keep its budget in the black. City officials on Thursday warned residents that if they leave extra trash on the curb they could face newly increased fines of $500 or more.

The Bureau of Street Services has the authority under an ordinance passed last month to issue citations to those dumping trash illegally.

The fine for a first offense starts at $500 and would increase with each repeat violation to $700 and $1,000. Violators caught dumping trash for the fourth time would be charged with a misdemeanor offense.

Update: Although the ordinance (PDF) and increased fines do not distinguish between an extra trash bag and a mountain of industrial waste, the office of Councilman Jose Huizar states that they were intended to go after “business that don't want to pay to go to the dump,” says spokesman Rick Coca.

Business Improvement District security guards downtown, for example, could report a commercial-level dumper and quickly see enforcement and fines under the updated ordinance, he said.

The idea that residents who leave extra trash on the curb could be find is “possible but improbable,” Coca said.

Illegal dumping costs the city $12 million annually, according to Huizar's office.

“This amended ordinance will allows to aggressively pursue those who choose to trash our city streets, parkways and alleys with their garbage,'' Huizar said. “It also empowers our community and business partners to get training from BSS to gather evidence that can lead to fines being levied against illegal dumping perpetrators.''

With Reporting From City News Service

LA Weekly