District 1 commissioner Keith Davis encouraged any residents who have not already done so to sign up for automated garbage pickup. The cans that go along with the new service are being distributed now.
Earlier this year, the commission voted to replace its rear-loading garbage trucks with automated ones. The switch is expected to save time and money in a department that in the past has been overbudget by as much as $400,000 per year.
“We made those changes to make Solid Waste more efficient and to spend your taxpayer dollars in the wisest way we possibly can,” Davis said.
District two commissioner Dan Wright suggested granting amnesty to residents who are not signing up now because of unpaid bills.
“I’ve had a lot of folks call me and say, ‘I was on garbage service 15 years ago. I want to get back on it because I heard about the new cans, but they’re saying I owe three months back pay because I didn’t call them and tell them I wanted off of it. So they kept riding by and charging me,’” Wright said.
Wright recommended forgiving that debt for residents who keep their account current under the new system.
Commissioners Bobby Nunnelley and Steven Aderholt said they are interested in finding new ways to tackle litter in the county, a problem Nunnelley called “disgraceful.”
Nunnelley said local constables are currently organizing a series of clean-up days but added that issuing tickets might also be necessary.
“It’s either put it in the garbage can or you’re going to get wrote up. It’s just that plain and simple,” Nunnelley said.
Aderholt added that roadsides that are picked up one week are covered in litter by the next.
He said since asking residents to stop throwing out their trash has not been an effective solution, it is time to address the problem in other ways, such as posting the names of those who litter in local newspapers.
He also issued a plea for help from constituents.
“It doesn’t matter where you’re from in the county, we’re spending your tax dollars to pick up trash that’s being thrown out on the side of the road. We could spend those dollars somewhere else doing things much more useful than that, so we’d ask you to continue in the effort to help us get this problem stopped,” Aderholt said.
In other action, the commission:
•heard a request to increase the amount the county provides to the East Walker County Chamber of Commerce to $10,000 per year. The chamber’s current annual allotment from the county is $3,200.
Chevee Whitfield, executive director of the Chamber, said that amount has remain unchanged since the late 1990s and is one of three primary revenue sources for the chamber.
The others are dues and a handful of annual fundraisers.
Whitfield asked that commissioners consider increasing the appropriation to offset the chamber’s financial losses, which she estimated to be approximately $8,500 per year.
“We are going in the red financially every month. There was a little nest egg that we go into to keep operations going, and that is dwindling very fast,” Whitfield said.
Whitfield requested that the commission revise its contract with the chamber when it comes up for renewal in October.
Nunnelly asked Whitfield to come before the commission again at a later date with more information about the chamber’s activities and finances.
•awarded a bid for a water system improvement project to B&H Contracting Inc. for $379,933.40. The project will be funded by a Community Development Block Grant.
•adopted resolutions giving the city of Oakman control of the right of way on Washington Street and turning control of Sutton Street over to the city of Cordova.