County cleanup is a positive campaign tactic
Published 7:00 am Friday, April 3, 2015
Earlier this week the Item ran a photo of what appeared to be discarded furniture on the side of Burnt Bridge Road.
As a way to promote his reelection to the position of Pearl River County Supervisor for District IV, J. Patrick Lee, his son and some of their friends picked up the mess.
In all Lee said the pile at that one site filled 27 bags that were 50 gallons in size. About 15 tires were also removed from a site on Asa McQueen Road this week, Lee said. He took them to the county barn, which accepts used tires for free and has them recycled.
“You get a good feeling when you’re driving down the road and there’s no trash,” Lee said.
Burnt Bridge Road resident Jason Artalona said he saw the pile of debris out there previously, and was pleased to see Lee and a crew of people out there cleaning up the mess.
Lee said he received several phone calls about the pile of debris, leading him to bring his son and members of the PRC baseball team out there to clean it up.
He’s been paying people in the county to clean up trash from the roadsides out of his campaign contributions, and doesn’t deny that his efforts are a way to garner votes in the upcoming election.
“It’s better than just buying signs and sticking them up,” Lee said.
Even though he’s received some criticism for paying people to pick up litter as a campaign booster, he hopes his efforts become contagious with everyone in the county. Whether it will fix the problem is unknown, but Lee’s efforts have not gone unnoticed.
“I will definitely vote for this Lee guy because he cleaned up the trash along Burnt Bridge,” Artalona said.
Litter has been a long-standing problem in Pearl River County. Several city and county officials have said that the problem creates an issue with economic development because it’s hard to attract new business and industry to a county with littered roads.
Lee said he is willing to take some of the responsibility for the problem, considering he’s one of the county’s lawmakers.
While there aren’t any concrete plans in the works to fix the problem, Lee said members of the board are working towards establishing an ordinance requiring waste carriers to use tarps or other types of covers on their collection trucks. The aim is to ensure bags or bits of trash don’t fly out of the truck and onto the road while being hauled to the Millard landfill.
Another option the county is looking into entails establishing a countywide trash collection service similar to Hancock County’s. However, Lee said such a move would have to be put to a countywide vote.