City and county leaders plan to crack down on littering - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

City and county leaders plan to crack down on littering

Posted: Updated:
Mayor Dorothy Hubbard Mayor Dorothy Hubbard
Judy Bowles, KABD Executive Director Judy Bowles, KABD Executive Director
Chairman Jeff Sinyard, Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard, Dougherty County Commission
Keep Albany-Dougherty Volunteers cleaning up litter Keep Albany-Dougherty Volunteers cleaning up litter
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Albany's Mayor wants tougher penalties for litterbugs.

Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful presented the 2013 litter index to county commissioners this morning.  They said the problem is getting worse and it's time to take action.

City and County leaders say criminal activity and problems with economic development go hand-in-hand with littering.  The mayor said residents will begin to see stricter enforcement against offenders.  City and county leaders said trash has become a big problem in Albany.

"We've come a long way.  You heard her (Bowles) say we have over 90 groups who've agreed to pick up litter.  But we shouldn't have to keep picking it up over and over," said Mayor Dorothy Hubbard. 

A quick drive around the city can reveal all sorts of trash.  Anything from discarded bottles, to old coffee cups or even dirty diapers.

"We're doing education.  We have citizen involvement, but we don't have enforcement.  And without enforcement, we tolerate litter," said Judy Bowles, KABD Executive Director. 

The city and the county have ordinances that can punish people who litter.  But limited resources have made enforcement difficult.

"You know, we've had some other issues in our city and in our county that had to be addressed.  And I think that in terms of priority as it relates to police or the county police department, those priorities are not arresting people for litter," said Hubbard. 

Some say litter is scaring away industries that could bring new jobs to the area.

"People are not gonna spend 15 or 20 Million-dollars on us if we're not clean, they're just not gonna do it," said Hubbard.

County and city leaders said they're ready to crack down on the problem.

"Yes, I take it personally.  I think it's something we should not tolerate," said Chairman Jeff Sinyard, Dougherty County Commission).

Over the last year, Mayor Hubbard has been working to bring awareness to the problem.  Now, she's working to strengthen existing ordinances and maximize punishments.

"So I'm gonna go for the laws and enforcing the laws as tough as we can on it," said Hubbard. 

And the thousands of volunteers who work throughout the year picking up trash could soon have greater support of the city to clean up the community. 

The punishment for littering is up to the judge.  But Bowles said punishments could include fines of up to a-thousand-dollars and community service or possibly jail time.

City and county leaders said officers need the public's help to enforce littering ordinances.  They ask you to notify law enforcement or contact 311 to report anyone who litters.

Copyright 2013 WALB.  All rights reserved.