County supervisor hires residents to clean up roadways
Published 7:00 am Friday, March 20, 2015
Recently, the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors has worked on finding solutions for the county’s ongoing trash issues. District IV Supervisor J. Patrick Lee said he’s taking initiative by working alongside several county residents to clean up the streets.
Last month, Lee started enlisting help from residents by paying them with money out of his own pocket to pick up trash along county roads.
“This is completely separate from the county,” Lee said. “I’m using my own personal money and providing them with equipment I purchased.”
Nicholson Volunteer Fire Department Chief Bobby Robbins said Lee recently asked for his help to rally people to pick up trash in the county.
“I’m a friend of Lee’s and he asked me to talk to people who were interested in helping out and said he would pay us out of pocket to pick up trash,” Robbins said.
Since last Monday, Robbins, along with two volunteers, including Johnny McDaniel and Terry Lawrence, set out every day to clean up trash alongside roads.
On Thursday morning, Robbins said they picked up 16 large bags of trash just along some parts of Section Line Road.
“People don’t care about littering issues, they just throw out their trash,” Robbins said. “They need to be mindful about what they’re doing.”
Not only does Lee pay for and provide equipment for several residents, he also helps collect trash, along with his son and his friends.
“The bottom line is we haven’t found a way to keep people from littering,” Lee said. “It’s one of the hardest jobs to enforce rules against it, especially if you don’t catch a person littering or have pictures showing it, then there’s nothing you can do.”
Pearl River County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said the county is working on improving garbage collection for residents.
“We talked with Waste Management recently to see if they could open the landfill on Saturdays,” Lumpkin said. “They’re supposed to be getting back to me, but nothing is finalized yet.”
He also said the litter issue has been a countywide problem for years.
“It’s been discussed for years so anything we can do to get people more aware is going to be a benefit,” Lumpkin said about Lee’s efforts to clean up the roads.
Lee said he’s received some complaints from citizens, who believe he’s working on this project as a campaign strategy to get re-elected into office.
“If I’m going to go out and do politicking, I might as well at least be productive while I’m doing it,” he said.
He also said it hasn’t been too difficult finding people willing to clean up the streets.
“It’s not hard to recruit people,” he said. “There are people out there who want to earn extra money while helping the community out. I just thought if I got some folks to help, it would become contagious.”
Last month, the Item reported that the board of supervisors spoke about possibly implementing regulations on garbage collection services, after receiving complaints from residents concerning garbage trucks dropping trash on the streets.
While there’s no decision yet, Lee said he started the trash pick up service to move towards cleaner roads.