In an effort to persuade trash scofflaws to pay their bills, the city today begins trying a new tactic: shame.
The city is planning to list the names of the 20 worst offenders on its website in the hope of recouping about $3 million from residents and business owners who have long ignored violations such as overfilling dumpsters, putting trash out too early, and failing to clean the sidewalk.
Some violators are individuals, but many are real estate firms that are responsible for the upkeep of property throughout the city.
Sabet Management Co., a real estate firm with properties in the Fenway, has the highest bill, owing $20,475, according to city officials.
Among others listed are Michael Polacco, who owes $17,590 on violations at properties in the South End and Mission Hill, and Thomas Aufaburn, who owes $10,760 on East Boston violations.
The unpaid bills date to 2000.
"The cleanliness of our city is an important quality-of-life issue in all of our neighborhoods," Mayor Thomas M. Menino said in a statement. "If we are to influence individuals to pay more attention to the use and conditions of their business and residences, then our ticketing procedures must be clear and enforceable."
For years, city officials have said they have little leverage in forcing violators to pay their bills. While unpaid bills for other offenses can trigger liens on property or suspensions of driver's licenses, there currently is no such mechanism for trash violations.
In addition to posting the names of the worst violators on cityofboston.gov, Menino also recently filed a home-rule petition asking the Legislature for tools to help make garbage violators pay. The proposal would allow the city to place liens on the property of owners who have not paid bills on green ticket violations, so called because of the fluorescent color of the citations, for illegal dumping, site cleanliness, and improper storage of trash.
The city would also be able to restrict violators' access to city services such as building permits and residential parking stickers.
Matt Viser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.