Bishop suggests raising funds for litter position

By ED HOWELL
Posted 3/21/19

Walker County Commission Chairman Jerry Bishop suggested fundraising could be held to help hire a part-time person within the Walker County Sheriff's Office to oversee litter cleanups. At …

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Bishop suggests raising funds for litter position

Posted

Walker County Commission Chairman Jerry Bishop suggested fundraising could be held to help hire a part-time person within the Walker County Sheriff's Office to oversee litter cleanups. 

At Monday's Walker County Commission meeting, Smith asked during his monthly report to the commissioners if they would partner with him on litter pickup in the future, suggesting funds could be moved around to hire an extra part-time jail staff who could supervise inmates when they go out on the road to pick up trash in the districts. 

He noted efforts started in District 4 when he sent deputies and inmates out to pick up litter there, while some pick up was also made in District 1. District 4 Commissioner Steven Aderholt thanked Smith for the help. 

"I'm in the process of getting us a van donated. If that works out well, we'll put some blue lights on that van, and we'll be able to get more than just two or three out picking up trash," he said. 

Smith talked of hiring someone new from outside the department to handle litter clean up, which District 2 Jeff Burrough agreed with.

Burrough said that he thinks the public would encourage hiring someone now instead of waiting until October, saying the cleanup in District 4 made a positive impact. 

Smith said the new hire could work 29 hours a week, possibly using a retiree. Davis said that would save paying for health insurance, agreeing that a part-time person could be hired now. 

"We need one dedicated person," Smith said. "They could spend a day in each district." 

Bishop said he has been approached by a couple of people saying, 'We will kick in some money if you will get the roads cleaned up." Noting many in the county are charitable, he said it may be possible that citizens could donate to pay part-time deputies or others. He noted a number of citizens could afford to make such donations. 

Aderholt said the issue is really getting people not to throw out litter. Bishop said he hopes tickets could be issued.

"I was promised there would be some tickets written in this county. We had one in the last administration," Bishop said. 

Bishop also repeated that efforts will be started to try to start an anti-litter emphasis by having Smith and other county officials speaking in the local schools, urging students not to litter.

Aderholt said, "It's a generational shift in the mindset that has got to change. We have to start that starting with school age children, getting in there and talking to them, letting them see the responsibility on them." 

Commissioners noted the Saturday, April 27, countywide clean up, which will involve county crews and volunteers throughout the county. Burrough has arranged to have a breakfast at his district shop at 8 a.m. to kick off the day. Aderholt said he had much response to the day through Facebook, as many people are interested in the effort. 

"If anybody wants to pick up trash in the district, along the roadsides, we'll be glad to provide bags, if you will coordinate and let us know when you do that," Aderholt said. "Leave them on the side of the road and we'll come back and pick them up." Bishop said that was likely true with all the districts. Burrough confirmed that for his district. 

During his report, Smith noted he has also asked County Administrator Robbie Dickerson to cut off purchase orders for office supplies for the Sheriff's Office. 

"Right now, we're currently at 86 or 87 percent on the budget, and we 're not even halfway through the budget year," Smith said. "I'm going to finish that out with my discretionary funds with the Sheriff's Department. I've noticed a lot of mismanagement with the office supplies there and all the things that are getting requested that is already in stock. I just want to cut off those purchase orders to help balance the budget from here on out with that." 

Bishop also noted the commission was getting close to an agreement on hiring a license inspector. Smith said a person could start in a few days. 

For the month, Smith also reported the department made 130 arrests, 191 traffic stops and answered 1,226 calls for service. It made 44 drug related arrests, 41 outstanding warrant arrests, and 45 arrests on other criminal charges involving both felonies and misdemeanors. 

Bishop also noted Deputy Scott Drummond is serving in courthouse security from the Sheriff's Office. "We're pleased with him," he said, noting he is often seen at the courthouse, which is reassuring to see an on-duty officer at the facility. 

In other action, the commission: 

• Heard from County Administrator Robbie Dickerson that the fiber optics for the new AT&T phone system has been installed for the courthouse annex behind the main Walker County Courthouse. That has been held up for some time, she said. Now officials will start meeting with probate officials for the annex building housing the Probate Judge's Office, with an installation of the phone system there possibly happening in the next couple of weeks. Next would be the courthouse and the annex behind the courthouse. 

• A new purchase order procedure is at least 80 percent online, "which is a huge accomplishment in two weeks," Dickerson said. 

• Agreed to the "Back to School" sales tax holiday for July 19-21. 

• Voted to reappoint Douglas Booth to the Walker County Board of Equalization, as his current term expires at the end of September. Revenue Commissioner Jerry Guthrie endorsed Booth and other members who were to be appointed by the Jasper City Council (Jack Allen) and the Walker County Board of Education (Dr. Mike Morton, whose term expires at the end of September). Guthrie said he understands Morton will also likely be reappointed. Allen was reappointed by the council Tuesday for a full term, after he was appointed about a year and a half ago to an unexpired term. 

• Heard Davis say 25 miles of paving projects would happen in his district, due to savings built up over time. Burrough said his district had several projects to do when weather is warmer. 

• Heard District 3 Commissioner Ralph Williams note his district is still recovering from recent flooding, noting culverts have to be replaced. "It has hit us hard," he said.