DOBSON — County officials hope non-profit groups will take advantage of a program which is beneficial to both the county and the groups.
“I think it’s a great program that is not being utilized to the fullest extent,” Eddie Harris, chairman of the Surry County Board of Commissioners, said of a litter pickup program.
As part of the program, non-profit groups can volunteer to pick up trash along Surry County roadways. For their efforts, the county will pay those organizations $3 per bag of trash collected.
The program existed a number of years ago, but it was phased out. However, in 2016, the county board — with guidance from a litter committee consisting of officials and business leaders from throughout the Surry County community — opted to reinvest in the program.
Surry County commissioners allocated $10,000 toward the program.
According to Harris, much of that money is still up for grabs, as the litter pickup program has received some response from the community but “not nearly enough.”
“We are hoping to get the word out some more,” said Harris.
Kim Bates, the county’s planning director who is charged with oversight of the program, said he knows of only one group which has taken advantage of the program.
Bates also outlined the program. Schools, civic organizations, churches and other non-profit groups are encouraged to take part in the cleanup operations. All supplies, such as bags and safety equipment like orange vests, are provided by the N.C. Department of Transportation.
According to Bates, those supplies can be scheduled to be picked up from the Department of Transportation’s locations at either Prison Camp Road in Dobson or 419 Oakland Drive in Elkin. Non-profit groups can choose the location at which they will perform their cleanup.
Harris noted the program is beneficial for all parties involved. Surry County’s residents enjoy clean roadsides while non-profit groups receive funding for their operations.
“It allows groups to raise a significant amount of money,” explained Harris. “It does that while teaching stewardship, responsibility and greater civic-mindedness among those taking part. I hope for greater involvement in the future.”
Any group interested in taking part in the cleanup program is urged to call the Surry County Planning Department at (336) 401-8300.
While the non-profit cleanup program may be off to a slow start, Harris said other elements of the county’s “war on litter” are going smoothly.
He noted that at a recent meeting of the litter committee, members of the committee received updates on the other fronts of the campaign. The Department of Transportation’s cleanup efforts along roadways are going well.
The state agency has contracts in place to have litter removed from all four-lane primary routes in the county on a monthly basis. Two-lane primary roads are picked up on a quarterly basis.
The group is also buying stickers with the effort’s logo displayed on them. Harris said those will go to students in all three of the county’s public school systems in an attempt to raise awareness for the campaign.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.