Thursday, April 5, 2012
Litter problem outrages citizens
By SUE WATSON
A number of citizens, who want the city of Holly Springs to welcome visitors with clean streets and gutters, discussed litter problems with Mayor Andre’ DeBerry at a recent meeting of the city board.
Jane Hubbard, spokeswoman for the group, asked city leaders for action to clean up litter and to fine those who throw out litter to try to encourage people to discard trash properly.
“One of the first things people notice when coming to town is our trash,” Hubbard said. “We’ve got to take the time to enforce the law. We need to make a few arrests and people will take notice.”
Marshall Academy has embarked on a recycling program and the community is invited to drop off paper, plastics and aluminum in bins at the school.
Reporting on activity in enforcing the city ordinance prohibiting littering, Hubbard said the officers have not written any citations for littering in 2012 and few, if any, in 2011. The fine for littering, Hubbard was told by police, is $239.
In contrast, research turned up that the city of Oxford issued 10-12 citations last year at $221 per fine.
“It is apparently working, because their city is clean and beautiful,” she said. “Fines have been imposed for both leaving yards unclean and throwing trash out of a car.”
Oxford has a community service program where those who litter work off their fines with the building and grounds department by planting flowers in planters in the city and picking up roadside trash, Hubbard said. Olive Branch, Hernando, Horn Lake and Southaven were reported to have similar programs.
The Holly Springs Pilgrimage, the annual Strawberry Plains Hummingbird Migration Festival and the July 4th celebrations are events that attract visitors to the city and the citizens group wants guests to enjoy the beauty of the city, not the trash, the group said.
“Please, community leaders, enforce the laws that are already in place and help clean up Holly Springs,” Hubbard said.
DeBerry said education of the populace about recycling trash would be required and that the people have to see some benefits from it. He added that billions of dollars worth of recyclable trash go into the dumps annually, according to reports he had read. The mayor also encouraged more Adopt A Street groups in the city as another means of keeping trash picked up.
Information technology director Ken Robinson provided amendments to the city’s fee structure for adding communication equipment, such as antennas, to existing cell towers. All equipment currently on the towers will be grandfathered, but any new upgrades to tower equipment will now cost the customer. Robinson said the fee structure is common practice by municipalities similar to rent cities charge to cable companies and phone companies to place equipment on the city’s power poles.
Alderman Garrie Colhoun asked who monitors and informs the city when there is a new piece of equipment going up.
Robinson said public works would monitor it and that department heads would also take note of activities.
“Typically, they will come see us,” said utility director Don Hollingsworth.
Robinson and the mayor said the city wants technology to come to the city, but also should collect a fee as other cities do for permits and regulations. “They are paying these fees in other cities and we are late to the game,” DeBerry said.
The board of aldermen voted unanimously to amend the fee schedule concerning communication tower equipment additions.
Utility study ordered
Hollingsworth asked the board of aldermen for a cost of service study to synchronize wholesale/retail rates for electricity. He said the Tennessee Valley Authority is working with HSUD to determine how to set wholesale rate schedules. The city needs a study on how to set the retail rate side, he said, and recommended Mid-South Utility Consultants to do the study for a fee of $25,000. The board approved the study.
Micheal Crittle, director of public works, presented a cost estimate – from three quarters to a million dollars – to repair about one-third of a mile of road going through Sunset Acres subdivision. The strip is being torn up by heavy truck traffic from the county shop, he said.
Alderman Russell Johnson asked who is responsible for cleaning culverts when they silt in.
Crittle said there is a problem with culverts filling in and ditches growing up, but the homeowner usually keeps the ditches cut and the city cleans the culverts.
DeBerry said the city cleans the culverts and the homeowner cleans the ditches. Usually the fire department or street department will clean culverts, he said. The property owner buys the culvert and the city installs the culvert is the standard procedure.
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