City leaders begin litter crackdown - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

City leaders begin litter crackdown

Mayor Dorothy Hubbard Mayor Dorothy Hubbard
Judy Bowles, Executive Director of Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful Judy Bowles, Executive Director of Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful
Albany City Commissioner Jon Howard Albany City Commissioner Jon Howard
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Albany city leaders say they're fed up with all the litter, and say they're working to maximize punishments against offenders. Mayor Dorothy Hubbard announced a city wide crackdown on illegal dumping and littering as part of her second phase in her Call to Service Initiative on Friday.

Hubbard says she's disgusted by all the trash. And she hopes stepping up patrols and using hidden cameras in some locations will get the public's attention. Discarded chairs, broken televisions, and abandoned toys are just a few of the items dumped on an East Albany dirt road. But the problem is seen all over the city.

"When we do these kind of things, it implies that we don't care and nobody's gonna come in here and invest 10, 15, 20 million dollars in a city or county where the people don't care. They're just not gonna do it, and you can't blame them for that," said Hubbard.

Public leaders plan to work closely with law enforcement to catch people in the act. "Well, first of all, we're gonna have some people out there and some cameras in some strategic places that are gonna help us to spot some of those things," the Mayor said.

Offenders will have their names, addresses and punishments made publicly available. "Unfortunately, we're gonna have to make examples of people and we're gonna have to humiliate them and hit 'em in their billfold. And then hopefully they'll get the message," said Judy Bowles of Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful.

City leaders say all the trash and debris could be harming more than just the economy. "It's also a health and a safety issue. We had an officer three weeks ago that opened a bag of trash, trying to see if there was any way he could identify who had dropped in in the spot, and there was a rattle snake in there," Bowles said.

Bowles says rats and dangerous animals commonly hide in the litter, which could pose a risk to unsuspecting residents or children. And while a hundred teams of volunteers work to clean up the city throughout the year, they've been unable to keep up. "Well, you do get disheartened, because it appears that if you pick it up this morning, in the afternoon it's back down there," said Jon Howard, Albany City Commissioner.

But enforcement, city leaders say, could help residents reclaim Albany as "The Good Life City." They mayor says the city will work with county leaders to help enforcement. The Executive Director of Keep Albany Dougherty Beautiful says county residents aren't required to have trash services, which may contribute to the problem because of the impulse to toss trash anywhere instead of hauling it to the dump.

Public leaders are asking residents to report any illegal dumping and take license plate numbers of cars where litter has been dumped out. Punishments will likely include fines of up to $1,000, 100 community-service hours and even jail time for repeat offenders.

 

Copyright 2013 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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