MOULTON — The increasing amount of trash along Lawrence County roads has raised the ire of county commissioners.
Commissioners cited county roads 150, 203, 236, 270 and 314 as a few of the roads needing to be cleaned up.
County Administrator Heather Dyar suggested the county promote trash pickup during the state’s Spring Cleanup Week, April 21-28. Commission Chairman Mose Jones Jr. also recommended the districts consider forming neighborhood watch programs to monitor the litter problem.
At a Friday commission meeting, Solid Waste Director Willie Allen told commissioners there’s not a simple solution to the age-old problem. He said Old Alabama 24 from county line to county line has a major trash problem.
“I’m reading in the newspaper that Decatur has the same issue. Everybody does,” Allen said. “It takes everything we’ve got to keep those dumpsters (across the county) emptied.
“In order to keep a clean county, I don’t know if we’ll be able to ever do that. It is going to take a ton of man hours,” Allen said. “From Five Points store to (Alabama) 157 on County Road 203, we can pick it up on Monday and it’ll be there on Tuesday.”
He suggested churches and civic organizations take a more active role in helping clean the roadways. “It’s not just a solid waste problem, it’s going to take everyone to help with this problem,” Allen said.
Commissioner Bradley Cross said people simply aren’t getting the message.
“I don’t care about how many dumpsters you've got out,” he said at Wednesday’s work session. “People are still going to toss out their trash from stores and the fast-food joints. Until you start catching them and sticking it to them. … You’ve got to prosecute folks to get their attention.”
District 4 Commissioner Bobby Burch said he prefers to use county inmate labor to help pick up trash along the roads.
“Use inmates to pick it up and save some money,” Burch said. “I know there’s the liability issue. We can hire general labor just to pick up trash. I’d hate to do that. We have to do something. It’s worse than it has ever been. We give the residents cans, great service, a price reduction in the garbage collection. We need them to help out, to take pride in their community.”
Moulton attorney Laura Terry Powell suggested commissioners approach the judges about offering community service sentences in some cases. Powell said reduced fines in exchange for trash pickup would be attractive to some who are convicted.
The solid waste department hires labor through Southern Staffing. Allen said workers are paid $9.64 an hour.
“It’s hard to find people who want to do it,” Allen said.
Jones said the county would set another work session to address the trash issues. He said residents need to “change their attitudes” when it comes to littering.
In other business at Friday’s commission meeting, the commission:
• Agreed to rent a couple of portable toilets for Hatton Park, effective immediately through September.
• Voted to reimburse the Jesse Owens Park and Museum for $3,229.18 in expenses from fiscal year 2017.
• Reappointed Industrial Development Board members Kenneth Brackins, Jeff Brittnell and Ricky Knouff.
• Approved departures of Tim McWhorter, Kristi Robertson and Marcus Thompson from the Sheriff's Office.
• Approved the addition of Gina Barbin to the jail staff.
• Approved a road department request for a short-term loan for an Appalachian Regional Commission grant project of up to $350. County engineer Winston Sitton said the money would be reimbursed.
• Approved a road department request of minor subdivision Parker Estates in the Caddo area.