Cordele Dispatch, Cordele, GA

Local news

November 14, 2012

Making Crisp more beautiful

Cordele — Crisp County Commissioners promised Tuesday to take under advisement a four-prong proposal for improving the litter situation throughout the county.

Connie Carney and Angie Ellis, representing a concerned citizens trash committee that has been studying the situation about two months, presented the proposal at the regular commission meeting. They further recommended that their proposal be implemented by June of 2013.

In an effort to clean up and help beautify the community, Ellis presented four points:

• Reduce county dump sites to two – a landfill manned site, preferably in-ground and the farmers market site to be used strictly for yard clippings and vegetation.

• Implement county-wide curbside pickup with the goal of maintaining the monthly fee per customer at $18 or less. Currently county property owners are paying a portion of their ad valorem tax for trash pickup (approximately $240 annually). Under the committee’s plan, that tax would be rebated, and everyone, whether he owns or rents would pay for the curbside service.

• Coordinate with Keep Crisp Beautiful, local law enforcement and county judges to enforce current laws and ordinances concerning secure loads, illegal dumping and littering. This will help eliminate the debris that blows out of vehicles along roadsides, she said.

• Develop and implement a litter awareness program, especially designed for children.

Carney said the citizens trash committee also includes Janis Summers, John Woodard, Herbert Gladden, Tom Patton, Sherrie Leverette, Carl Gamble, Catherine Mays and Wallace Mathis.

“We have talked to a lot of people and done a lot of research,” Carney said, “and we have determined that the most economical solution to the trash problem for individuals and the county is curbside service.” She suggested that the county contract with a private vendor for the service. “Health issues would be reduced as would illegal dumping from other counties.”

In accepting the committee’s report, Commission Chairman Wallace Mathis said he would like to have several public hearings before the board makes a final decision. “We are the last bastion left for curbside service,” he said. “Everybody around us has mandatory curbside.”

Dennis Fraser spoke against curbside service. Everyone had an opportunity several years ago to go to that service, and he said he thinks people would have gone that way then if they supported the concept.

He is concerned, he added, that he will be forced to pay a renter’s fee if that renter doesn’t pay. “In Dooly County, they levy against the property owner when his renters fail to pay. I don’t want to get stuck with somebody else’s garbage bill.”

He also said that some people buy their necessities with the money they make dumpster diving. Ellis countered, however, that no one has to live that way. “We have a community service league, and if anyone has problems feeding or clothing their families, we want to help them.”

Fraser then commented, “if we go to curbside, we also should embrace a recycling program.” Others in the room agreed that recycling would be preferable to throwing everything away. That recycling has to begin in the home, however, where individuals sort their trash before it is picked up, they said.

Commissioner Clark Henderson acknowledged, “what we are doing now is not working. There is a better way.”

Summers expressed her opinion, “I’m excited about the direction the county is going now.” Having lived in the community 25 years, she said, “I have been distressed with the foolish things we do to stop progress. We’ve been irresponsible with trash. I want to see us take better care of our community. It’s all about curb appeal.”

She suggested the county treat its trash problem as you would a band aide. “Snatch it off and get it over with.” In other words, go ahead and make the difficult decisions.

Another lady said to county governors, “you’ve been kicking the can down the road for too long.” A gentleman added, “it’s time for Crisp County to move into the 21st century.”

Commissioner James Harris said he has supported a recycling facility for many years, and he wants to see it operating again. Commissioner William Culpepper said most of the people he has talked to oppose curbside service, but he commended the committee for the work it did.

County Administrator Tom Patton said he has lived in a number of places, and Crisp County has the worst litter problem he’s seen. “Managers of some of our industries won’t even live here,” he said, “but dumpsters are just one piece of the litter problem. We have to police people because they won’t police themselves.”

Carney agreed that it will be an educational process. Finally, Fraser said, “I want the least expensive, but best solution to the problem.”






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