The Magnolia City Council voted to increase the fees for illegal burning during their regular meeting on Monday.

The ordinance modifies Ordinance 572, passed in April of 1964, which makes it unlawful to burn trash and yard waste except between the hours of 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. every day.

The original ordinance imposed a fine of no less than $10 and no more than $25 for each offense.

The new fines are $250 for the first offense and $400 for subsequent offenses, plus court costs.

During the April meeting when the new fines were introduced Mayor Parnell Vann said, "We seem to have more people in our community with asthma and breathing problems. Children want to play outside after school and folks want to raise the windows in their houses to let it air them out, but they can't do it because burning is going on after hours."

Vann said that the city is lenient on this ordinance and only responds to violations if someone calls and complains.

When the fire department responds to a violation, they do not immediately give out tickets but will ask residents to put out the fire or let the fire department put out the fire. If residents refuse to put out the fire, the city will then write a ticket and with fines previously being low, most people finish burning their pile of waste, Vann said.

The next scheduled City Council meeting is on June 19.

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