DOBSON — A local anti-littering initiative will be multi-faceted, with Surry County set to spend $20,000 on the program.
The second of what will become quarterly anti-littering meetings was held in Dobson on Aug. 24. Representatives from the county, the town of Elkin, the N.C. Department of Transportation, and Mount Airy school districts and members of the local business community attended the meeting at the county government center.
According to County Manager Chris Knopf, the county Board of Commissioners has allocated $20,000 to the anti-littering campaign, and the ad hoc committee is starting to see its vision for the campaign coming to fruition.
Knopf explained many things will happen in county government throughout the course of the next month which will support the campaign, and other things are already happening.
One such initiative is the county’s move to require all trash haulers operating in the county be licensed with the county. Public Works Director Dennis Bledsoe noted most companies have been receptive of the new requirement.
Additionally, Knopf said the county board will consider the details of re-instituting a litter pick-up program. As part of the program, groups will be able to pick up litter, and the county will pay the groups a set dollar amount per bag that is picked up. The board will consider the per bag dollar amount at its first meeting in September.
“The majority of our money allocated should go toward the litter pick-up program,” noted Surry County Commissioner Eddie Harris, who chairs the anti-littering committee.
At the board’s second meeting in September, Knopf said it will likely consider an ordinance requiring all loads of trash, both commercial and private, be covered.
While action on the county board’s part is required for some of the committee’s goals, a public relations campaign involving all interested parties is also in the works.
Harris discussed yard signs with sayings such as “keep Surry litter-free.” In the agenda packets of committee members was a price quote of about $1,700 for 500 yard signs. Signs could be placed on county- or municipal-owned properties and the properties of Surry County’s three school systems.
Toby Outdoor, LLC, an outdoor advertising company, has also offered to run an anti-littering message on a digital billboard it owns on U.S. 52 free of charge. The plan would allow the message to be viewed by the public more than 700 times a day for one to two months.
Chad Tidd, who owns and operates the Mount Airy Chick-Fil-A, offered to lead a campaign among fast food restaurants.
The committee discussed placing stickers on products or on the doors and windows of fast food restaurants throughout the county.
The committee is also looking to involve the county’s three school systems in the fight to keep Surry County clean. An art contest to create a logo for the campaign may soon take place among school-aged children, and literature may be distributed.
Jason Dorsett, Mount Airy City Schools chief operations officer, said he believes such a program would best cater to third- through fifth-grade students.
While the anti-littering committee had only its second meeting on Wednesday, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has been working to do its part in keeping Surry County clean.
Jason Joyce, a DOT representative, said contracts for clean-up services on primary roads in Surry began on Aug. 1. As part of the contract, a company will be picking up four-lane primary roads, such as U.S. 52, on a monthly basis and two-lane primary roads, such as the majority of N.C. 601, quarterly.
Any litter removal services garnered through the use of inmates will be directed toward secondary roads, said Joyce.
Additionally, a contract has already been in place for litter pick-up on I-74 and I-77. Joyce said 16,000 pounds of trash was removed on the first sweep of I-74. On the second sweep, 4,000 pounds of trash was removed.
The Adopt-a-Highway program was also of interest for the committee. Joyce said he has terminated 13 Adopt-a-Highway contracts for an organization’s failure to clean up or report its clean-up activities.
The DOT also will be working with county and school officials, providing literature for use in the anti-littering campaign.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.