Working to control litter

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, March 25, 2014

At the city council’s most recent meeting they adopted a revised version of their litter ordinance. The city is also utilizing their established adopt a flowerbed program.

The revised ordinance adds some new rules and regulations and brings in some policy measures, said Public Works Director Eric Morris.

“We see the roads just like everyone else does,” Morris said. “We pick up all we can instead of chewing it up with mowers.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

In spite of their efforts, litter is still a problem, Morris said.

Some of the newer aspects of the ordinance put the responsibility of parking lot and sidewalk litter maintenance on the business owner. The changes also establish civil, in addition to long-standing criminal, penalties.

City Attorney Nathan Farmer said the civil penalties, outlined in section 21 part B of the ordinance, refer to a provision in the Mississippi Code of 1972. Farmer said the provision allows city employees to impose a fine of up to $1,500 for violations of the ordinance.

On the criminal side, a police officer can impose a fine of up to $1,000 and or up to 90 days in jail.

Other additions state that litter cannot be disposed of on private property, contractors are responsible for disposing of construction debris and regulations were formed against posting signs to utility poles, said Planning and Zoning Director Diane Miller.

On the topic of house renovation or construction debris removal, Miller said from now on construction debris would no longer be left at the roadside for pickup. Construction debris has to be disposed of by the contractor or homeowner at their expense.

Another addition to the ordinance states handbills or any other type of litter cannot be dropped or deposited from aircraft.

In another effort to beautify the city, the adopt a flower bed program is ongoing. Grounds and Beautification manager Daryl Smith said there are a couple of beds available for sponsorship.

The program began about four years ago, allowing a business or individual to sponsor a flowerbed for an annual fee. Fees range from $150 to $300 per year, depending on the location of the bed, and include planting of flowers twice a year, Smith said.

Sponsors can pick the types of flowers they want to use, and the city will plant them when they are ready. Anyone interested in adopting a flowerbed can reach Smith at 601-798-0031.

Litter is also a problem along medians in the city.

Morris said the city currently doesn’t have plans to implement a program where businesses or individuals can adopt a median.