County moving forward with litter pickup plan

Published 10:07 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Six work-release inmates will soon be spending three days a week, 48 weeks of the year cleaning up litter on Pike County roadways.

Pike County Commission Chairman Robin Sullivan said the county has been cleared to move forward with the plan, which the commission unanimously approved at its Feb. 25 meeting.

“Since I joined the commission in 2004 one of the biggest questions has been what are we going to do about litter?” Sullivan said. “There’s just not enough teeth in the law to make a big issue of it. There was not a whole lot we could do about it. We’ve been trying to find a way to do it ever since then. We finally have gotten to where we can do something about it and we intend to get to work.”

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Sullivan said the commissioners get more calls about litter than anything other than road conditions.

“It really just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” Sullivan said. “You can tell it’s just been thrown out; someone was headed home and threw the bag out the whole contents of it.”

The road department is now looking for a cheap van from the state to transport the inmates and will begin advertising soon for the part-time worker to supervise the crew.

The work can get started as soon as the vehicle and supervisor are in place, Sullivan said.

Commissioner Russell Johnson, District 6, said the $45,000 plan is one part of a three-prong approach to reducing the county’s litter problem.

“Probably the best thing we could have done was to get the 4-H program back into schools to teach the kids about not littering,” Johnson said.

The county has already worked alongside the Pike County Extension Office to reintroduce the program.

Johnson said the next step is to work on strengthening litter laws to further discourage people from tossing trash onto Pike County roadsides.

Although the plan currently costs $45,000 for the county, Johnson said he is working with potential private partners that could provide some of the funding. He estimated that the program could cost as little as $15,000 each year.

Johnson said $80,000 in annual cost savings created by a structural change in the commission office allows this program to be funded.