Thursday, December 24, 2009
City attacks litter problem
By SUE WATSON
A busy buildings and grounds department has launched a campaign in Holly Springs to halt dumped garbage and household trash on the curbs, according to supervisor Larry Miller.
Bonner Street and Govan Avenue have been particularly messy, he said.
Miller said he is working with the street department to put up no littering signs.
“People are literally unloading their houses on the edge of the ditches,” Miller told the board of aldermen and mayor at the December 1 meeting.
Dumped televisions and furnishings are a problem around the city, he said.
His workers have also been tending to repairs of plumbing at Coopwood Park and elsewhere, he said.
Mayor Andre’ DeBerry joined the discussion, saying aldermen need to “impress upon people the need for community pride” in their wards.
An ordinance passed that would charge residents set fees to remove furnishings and white goods was not well received or enforceable, he said. The city has wound up continuing to pay for discarded goods because residents often move their throwaways to another location rather than put them on the curb at their residence and pay a hauling fee.
DeBerry said one of the city’s two boom trucks is spending the entire week picking up discards. He is looking at the possibility of starting a reward system for folks who report those who dump stuff on the streets.
“It is not only unsightly, it’s costing the city its image and no one wants to come into a city which looks like a dump,” he said.
Alderman Russell Johnson commended Miller for attacking the littering problem.
“I have one concern - this board notified to hire help,” he said. “We need to know why the actions of the board are not carried out.”
Alderman Harvey Payne joined the discussion saying that small trash from fast-food places is unsightly.
“It takes forever to pick it up,” he said.
DeBerry clarified that it costs more in manpower to remove bulk items and costs the city in tipping fees at the dumps.
But he prefers citizens become educated to the need not to discard trash on the highways and byways in the first place. He said he gets discouraged when he cleans up the street he has adopted only to find it all messed up again after a weekend.
Miller said he would like to extend an invitation to fast-food establishments to join the campaign against littering.
Payne asked if recycling of paper products would be fruitful.
DeBerry said he is looking at a recycling plan but thinks people mostly need to change their behavior.
“You can pick up at the west exit in the morning and in the evening it doesn’t show,” he said. “It’s frustrating.”
Alderman Johnnie Bagley suggested a clean-up day.
“It’s a good idea, and we need a date,” DeBerry said.
Bagley suggested the businesses on the square pitch in.
Payne suggested installing cameras.
“I just have a problem with ‘Big Brother’ - that’s just one black man’s opinion,” DeBerry said.
Payne said cameras could act as a deterrent.
DeBerry said fear of being caught is not the best motivator; personal motivation because a person wants to take action is best.
Alderman Calvin James suggested the mayor launch an advertising campaign to get people interested in keeping the city clean.
“We’ve got to get people to feel good about the city,” DeBerry said. “It’s just as much our responsibility as people who work in the street department.”
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