NIAGARA FALLS, NY-- The city of Niagara Falls is targeting illegal dumping as a criminal problem, as outlined in the new budget proposal.

In his City Hall speech on Friday, Mayor Paul Dyster compared the impact of dumping like this on the city's neighborhoods to threats posed by drug dealers and crack-houses.

And he says some contractors may be to blame.

"It's costing us money, because when they dump stuff on the street, we the citizens who keep our neighborhoods clean have to pay to go cleanup someone else's garbage," says Dyster. "In many cases, we believe these are fly by night building contractors who are taking construction debris, and instead of paying to dispose of it properly, even though they may have charged their customers a disposal charge, they're dumping it on the street and pocketing the cash."

Dyster did not give specifics of the anti-illegal dumping program. Current regulations call for a written warning, followed by a $50 fine which can escalate with repeated violations.

Ironically, the city itself had to clean up a site and pay a $2,500 fine to the state for improper dumping of tree limbs and street sweeper debris.