Emanuel County should notice visible improvements in regard to area litter in the next few months, to the credit of the Emanuel County Board of Commission’s 4-0 vote Monday night to enter into a contract with Lovin Contracting Company for the purpose of trash pick-up.
In years prior, the county has contracted inmate crews from two nearby work camps, one out of Twin City and another out of Jefferson County, for litter pick-up. County Administrator Guy Singletary said on Monday night that arrangement had been good for the county, but COVID-19, as with many other facets of life, brought that cooperation to a halt a year ago. While the county held out hope the Jefferson crew might return soon, that has not been the case, so the commission went to work looking for solutions.
That search led the commission to reach out to Lovin Contracting, which already picks up trash along the state routes here. In return, Lovin gave a proposal for $61,048.75. That figure, if accepted, would cover the cost of litter pick-up and disposal from major 2-lane county highways three times a year, minor 2-lane county highways twice a year, and local paved 2-lane county highways once a year.
On that note, Singletary mentioned that the commission has no involvement in determining which roads are designated as “major,” “minor,” or “local paved.” Those designations come from the state.
Toward the end of the discussion, Singletary and commission chairman Jim Sherrod alike voiced their opinions that the arrangement with Lovin is a better use of funds as opposed to the agreement with the work details due to the increased frequency of pick-up. The inmate crews only picked up along roadways once a year for $60,000, funds which were required to pay for the guards, milage on the prison vehicle, and gas.
Still, Singletary and Sherrod both felt Monday night’s contract discussion was as good a time as any to reiterate to the public the importance of being proactive in regard to keeping the community beautiful.
“Don’t throw out your trash. If you’re traveling with trash in the back of your vehicle, secure it. We have 300 miles of paved roads here. Often, the roads with the most trash are our dirt roads in residential areas. It’s a shame we have to spend taxpayer money to clean up our community. Let’s all have respect for the roads we live on and the community we live in,” Singletary said.
“It is disheartening to ride down our county roads and see the amount of trash that builds up. The sad part is, when they come around and pick up trash, it won’t be long before trash is back on the ground,” Sherrod added to the discussion. “You would hope people would have a little more pride and character than throwing their trash out. It’s true—it’s a shame we have to spend taxpayer money every year to pick up trash, but it’s a good thing we’re able to enter into this contract for about the same amount of money with more pick-ups.”
He continued, “Less government is probably a good thing. I don’t think anybody on this board wants to have to step in and create more ordinances as far as trash goes… We don’t want to have to take those steps, but if it keeps going the way it’s going, we might have to.”
In other news, Tripp Fitzner III, newly elected district attorney for the circuit, visited the board of commissioners Monday night and gave a brief overview. He talked to the commission about the progress being made on the backlog of cases his office has accumulated due to COVID. More than 100 cases have been indicted through two grand jury sessions, and jury trials are scheduled to start in April. The local DA’s office has a full staff, including new gang prosecutors, with a mission to address the gang issue at hand in the circuit. Fitzner also mentioned his office would soon start classes in the near future to benefit the public in various ways. Some of these classes will include concealed carrying and self-defense informative sessions as well as online safety for the younger generation.
Prior to adjournment, the board unanimously approved:
• Minutes from a meeting held February 15 as well as a March 11 workshop session.
• An annual lease with Debra Sharpe for a dump site on Farm Circle Road for up to 10 years.
• An automatic aid agreement with the City of Swainsboro.
The Emanuel County Board of Commission will next meet April 19 at 6 p.m. inside the board room of the Coleman Hotel.