Commissioners say litter could slow economic growth - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Commissioners say litter could slow economic growth

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Chairman Jeff Sinyard, Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard, Dougherty County Commission
Volunteers cleaning up trash around Albany Volunteers cleaning up trash around Albany
Judy Bowles, Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful Executive Director Judy Bowles, Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful Executive Director
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

One Dougherty County Commissioner said littering is a growing problem in the community, and he wants people to clean up their act.

Chairman Jeff Sinyard said litter could keep new jobs from coming to the city.  Sinyard said the ongoing problem of trashed out roads and public property is an embarrassment.  He said all the piles of trash could be having a big impact on our economic growth.

Some said the old shoes, tossed out bottles and piles of scrap strewn along the road ways are part of a larger problem plaguing the county.

"The one thing that's not understandable is when we have a community that's got so much litter it's ridiculous," said Chairman Jeff Sinyard, Dougherty County Commission.

The county consistently works to clean up the trash, and even hosted a Stash-the-Trash effort in April that drew 2,500 volunteers to pick up garbage.

"We got over 31 tons of litter that we picked up that Saturday morning," said Judy Bowles, Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful Executive Director.   

But the community's struggling to keep up with all the trash.

"You'll have folks, the Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful, other volunteers, neighborhood groups.  You have so many people that are trying to make a difference...the churches...and they can't keep up with the amount of trash being thrown out," Sinyard said. 

Some said the trash could be repelling outside industries from moving into Dougherty county, and may actually be preventing job growth to the area.

"Being clean and visually attractive is an economic development issue.  And if we look good and show pride, we could grow jobs," said Bowles. 

The county is performing a litter index to rate the amount of trash in the community.  Previous litter indexes indicate garbage has decreased in residential zones, but it could be on the rise on major roadways.

"All it takes is a little common sense not to throw trash out of a vehicle, or to have a truck with trash blowing out the back, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera!  It's just embarrassing to continue to see litter on our streets," said Sinyard.

Commissioners said ordinances have been difficult to enforce.  But Bowles said the mayor has taken steps to fight the problem.

"Very soon...the mayor has the Call to Service project going.  And phase one of that was litter.  And she's getting ready to implement phase two, which is enforcement.  And so we're gonna see some citations written," said Bowles.

And enforcement could be the key to cleaning up the county. 

Bowles said the punishment for littering is up to the judge, but can include fines of up to $1000 and community service, or even jail time.  She thinks the first people cited after the city begins to crack down will likely be made an example of. 

Commissioner Sinyard hopes if you see someone littering, you'll report it to law enforcement.

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