County ready to clean up

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 4, 2005

For now, people who litter along Highway 80 between Craig Field and Selma are relatively safe, unless a policeman happens to catch them in the act.

But, soon a tossed away wrapper or can could mean big trouble for the area’s messiest people.

“I’ve talked to our litter control officer,” Probate Judge Johnny Jones said. “I’m going to put him out there.”

Email newsletter signup

Jones added that he’s talked to Sheriff Harris Huffman and soon deputies may be on the lookout for litterbugs as well.

“There’s just no sense in it,” Jones said of the litter along the highway.

The main reason Jones and others are upset about trash along the entrance to Selma is civic pride. However, they also know that with industry prospects and an Air Force team coming to evaluate Selma and Dallas County, that Highway 80 can be Selma’s first chance to make a good impression.

“We’ve got to make sure it stays neat,” Jones said.

To that end, the city, county and state are working together to make sure the medians and right-of-ways along the highway stay relatively well groomed.

The City and Craig officials work on the median while the state and the county work on the right-of-ways.

“A lot of people are sensitive to this issue,” Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. said. “It would help a whole lot if the public would simply stop littering.

We spend so much time cleaning up behind people on the main thoroughfares, we don’t have enough time to get into the neighborhoods.”

Jones said the city and county had crews working about a week ago and estimated the cost of men and machinery for the day to be several hundred dollars.

But, Jones added, at the current rate they will soon have to go back out and clean again.

“Our biggest concern is people that don’t care what it looks like and throw trash on it,” Jones said. “I would appreciate the community helping catch some of these people. It’s deplorable.

It bothers me because people don’t take more pride in helping.”

Civic pride was a big part of the issue for both Jones and Perkins.

“The community pride is important,” Perkins said. “Equally important is the cost of picking the paper up we spend a lot of money going back and redoing daily what we did the day before.”

Jones said the county has used crews for the jail when they are available and may look at doing some more, but said personal responsibility was the best answer.

“There’s just no excuse in it,” he said. “One litter bag in your car would help us a lot in our efforts.”

Another issue along the Highway 80 entrance to Selma, and along other entrances as well, are some private businesses and residences with trash or junk in the yard.

But Jones said officials have enough on their plate dealing with the public lands.

“Right now, there’s just not enough hours in the day,” Jones said. “People have got to take pride in the houses in which they live as well as the streets and highways.”

Both Perkins and Jones promised to continue to work on the problem.

“I am determined and I’ll keep working,” Perkins said. “But it sure would be helpful if we didn’t have to spend that money every day doing the same thing.”

Perkins urged citizens to call the Selma Police at 874-6611 to report littering.