Walker County Commission

County litter officer already seeing success

Jones also working on future education efforts in schools

By ED HOWELL
Daily Mountain Eagle
ed.howell@mountaineagle.com
Posted 7/24/21

The Walker County Commission recently heard Wayne Jones, the new solid waste officer, talk about the success the county is having in its new litter enforcement program, with other groups asking what the county is doing. 

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Walker County Commission

County litter officer already seeing success

Jones also working on future education efforts in schools

Posted

The Walker County Commission recently heard Wayne Jones, the new solid waste officer, talk about the success the county is having in its new litter enforcement program, with other groups asking what the county is doing. 

The commission heard from Jones at its meeting Monday, where Jones also talked about the need to educate students in anti-litter efforts. 

District 2 Commissioner Jeff Burroughs invited Jones - who was appointed to the position on March 1 - to speak, noting Jones' recent appointment. Jones appeared to be wearing a deputy uniform. 

"We've been working with the court system and (Circuit Clerk Susan Odom) and the judges to get him some type of way to issue the citations immediately for people doing the littering," Burrough said. "After two or three months of working and people helping, we've got to that point where he can now do that in the county when he is out working." 

Burrough commended Jones, saying he has worked hard throughout the county. 

"They done got to where the calls go to the Sheriff's Department, and they just route them straight to Wayne," he said. 

Burrough said Jones has even reached out to state and national organizations, which has helped to save money on buying garbage bags. 

"You don't have to buy any more garbage bags. I've got it set up. They just want me to control how they are distributed," Jones told the commission. 

Jones said he is is on the agenda for a meeting in Birmingham covering Alabama and Mississippi to explain what the county has done over the past two years. He said it has involved a joint effort between the Solid Waste Department, the commission and the Sheriff's Office. 

"When I started two years ago, there was not a handbook on what to do," he said. "With everyone's cooperation, we've made a difference in the county." 

The contacts have already spread the word of what is going on locally, he said, noting a group in California called recently to find out what is being done here. 

District 1 Commissioner Keith Davis said there are several problem litter areas in his district. He said Jones usually has a talk with the individuals involved, and soon the area is usually cleaned up. 

"Sometimes you don't even have to write a ticket," Jones said.

Burrough said some arrests have been made for littering, noting that when he shows up in a uniform, he has the authority to write a citation immediately. Cameras are up in a number of location to help. 

Davis said the effort has already cut down on illegal dumping. 

Jones said he is also working on anti-litter education efforts in all the local schools.

District 3 Jim Borden commended Jones, saying it is a "full-time part-time job." District 4 Commissioner Steven Aderholt said he was pleased at the efforts, noting littering is a generational problem that can be attacked by educating students.  

In other action, the commission:

• Heard County Administrator Robbie Dickerson note the commission had a letter about the 2019 audit. She asked commissioners to look at it and sign it.

• Heard Dickerson say preparations for the Fiscal 2022 budget are being made and packets would go out that week to department heads. 

• Heard Dickerson say there would be a November conversion for software. The county's email was converted on the July 4 weekend. "We were able to convert to Gmail but keep our posts as it is, so we were able to maintain our current email addresses without having to change that," she said. 

• Heard Assistant County Engineer Glenn Peek say the county had received new handicapped voting machines to be used in 2022. 

• Heard Peek say that a meeting was held with Johnson Controls and that a project it was involved with should begin in August to replace lights and air conditioners.

• Approved a new account for an federal $58,000 COVID-19-related grant obtained for the Sheriff's Office. No funds have been received yet. 

• Approved an appraisal and mapping budget amendment for a line-item shift of $2,200 to cover telephone expenses. The move does not affect the budget totals.  

• Agreed to a pre-application for the Walker County Constables Association to use the old airport for the association's first rodeo fundraiser on Aug. 6-7 from 7-9 p.m. The approval is pending approval of the final application and the insurance. The event will be directed by Double Creek Rodeo Co. in Eutaw. 

• Decided to hire Billie Keeton as full-time public service worker for the Road and Bridge. 

• Voted to approve posting a full-time public service worker for the Solid Waste Department. 

• Agreed to hire Star King as a full-time public service worker in the Solid Waste Office.

• Approved a revised Walker County transportation budget, with totals being the same. 

• Voted to nominate District 1 Commissioner Keith Davis to the Association of County Commissions of Alabama (ACCA) Legislative Committee. Davis has served eight years on the panel, and he noted the panel helps to lobby against unfunded mandates. He said it has been a pleasure to work with Sen. Pro Tem Greg Reed, R-Jasper, and state Rep. Connie Rowe, R-Jasper, saying they fight against unfunded mandates. 

• Approved a bid for a mobile morgue trailer for Coroner's Office, which is being funded by covid relief funds through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. A $65,423 bid was accepted was from ACELA Truck Company. Chairman Steve Miller said grant writer Terry Acuff of Community Consultants in Huntsville worked hard on the project and did a good job. 

• Heard Burrough in commission comment time commend fire departments, which he said have had to pick up trees in recent storms. District 3 Commissioner Jim Borden thanked constables for also helping with this task, particularly in traffic control. 

• Heard Burrough say that Nauvoo has had county inmates come up to do clean up work around the town and do projects. "They have a need to try to get the old school down. It is full of asbestoes and hazardous products," he said. The County Engineer's Office is researching what can be done to level the school and haul off the debris. Burrough asked County Attorney Richard Fikes to also look into the matter, which he said he would. 

"We've been talking about it for three or four months. They're ready," Burrough said. "We just haven't give them an answer yet."

• Heard the county received no bids for some SUVs. Miller said he spoke to one person that morning and "they did not receive their package in the mail. That may be why we didn't get any bids."