Pilot Mountain News

Litter pick-up program begins

DOBSON — A mutually beneficial program will become an important facet of Surry County’s “war on litter.”

As part of the new program, non-profit groups registered as 501(c)3 organizations may pick up roadside trash and are reimbursed by the county at a rate of $3 per bag.

“The organizations get something out of helping the county,” said Kim Bates, Surry County planning director.

County Manager Chris Knopf relayed the sequence of events an organization must follow to take advantage of the program at l;ast week’s meeting of the Surry County Board of Commissioners.

First an organization must contact the county’s ordinance officer, Doug Hall, at (336) 401-8359. The 501(c)3 must be prepared to show documentation illustrating its status as such an organization, identify the location of the litter pick-up effort and note how many people will be participating in the clean-up.

The non-profit is then supposed to contact the N.C. Department of Transportation at (336) 386-8273, and pick up signage, vests and trash bags at the department’s location at 703 Prison Camp Road.

The organization conducts its clean-up operation and leaves the filled bags of trash at predetermined locations for pick-up. The ordinance officer will visit the location to count the bags and request that DOT personnel pick up the bags of trash.

A check equal to $3 per bag of trash is cut to the organization from the $10,000 commissioners set aside for the program.

Other fronts of “war” discussed

Surry County will also get a little help in keeping the roadways clean on roads near the county’s landfill.

The DOT has contracted for litter pick-up on major roads which run through the county. The contractor asked county officials if the county board would consider a waiver of tipping fees at the landfill in exchange for picking up litter from roads not covered under the contract.

The area the company will pick up in exchange for the fee waiver will include portions of Park Drive, Sheep Farm Road, Hiatt Road and Old U.S. 52. The roadsides will be cleaned on a quarterly basis.

County Manager Chris Knopf noted other jurisdictions in the area had agreed to similar agreements.

“I love it,” said Commissioner Larry Johnson.

“They just barely missed getting in front of my house,” the commissioner chuckled.

Then Johnson went on to tout another effort in combating roadside litter in the county.

“I took my trash, and I had my bags in the bed of the truck. I got this,” said Johnson as he held up a yellow notice warning loads of trash must be covered when transported in the county.

Commissioner Van Tucker noted his wife got the same notice when she took a load of trash to a convenience center.

As part of a recent codification process, Surry County commissioners added verbiage to the county’s code of ordinances which requires all trash loads to be covered. A violation of the ordinance could result in a fine of $100 for those who violate the ordinance multiple times.

However, the county is in the education phase of enforcing the ordinance, and Public Works Director Dennis Bledsoe said 20,000 warning notices will be distributed at the landfill and convenience center locations.

By Andy Winemiller


Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.