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Bag it or get fined

An ordinance on Selma’s books may begin causing a little bit of heartburn for city residents if they don’t follow what it says.

In an effort to better manage litter and debris along city streets, Mayor George Evans has instructed the city’s public works department to no longer pick up any leaves that are not bagged and asked the city’s code enforcement office to make a more concerted effort to fine those residents who don’t follow along.

“It has already started, and we are no longer going to pick up any leaves that are not bagged,” Evans said after Tuesday’s council meeting; a meeting where he updated members of the council on the renewed effort. “This is a long-standing ordinance and one that is in place for a reason.”

Evans said those residents who choose not to bag their leaves run the risk of receiving fines from the city’s code enforcement office.

“It’s important that we let the residents know that this is an ordinance and that it is one that has been on the books for quite a while,” council president Cecil Williamson said, noting it was suggested and approved during former Mayor James Perkins’ administration.

The renewed effort received a welcomed response from members of the council, who admit they have begun receiving numerous calls about the amount of litter in certain areas and complaints about slow or delayed trash pick-up.

Ward 3 councilmember Greg Bjelke, who chairs the council’s public works committee, said he and officials with some city departments have organized a working meeting — a “trash summit” he said — to find the root of problems the department may be facing.

Williamson asked Bjelke to include the bagged leaves issue with public works during the “summit,” ensuring they work to strictly enforce the ordinance.

Evans also said public works and code enforcement are working to weed out those residents continuing to include other trash and household items in piles of debris; a situation that led to a problem earlier this year with a makeshift landfill off of Landline Road behind the Dallas County Sportsplex.

Evans said he has stressed any piles of debris — which can include limbs and other clippings, but must have bagged leaves — must not include any other household garbage or items. If those piles, left on the side of the road, include anything other than what is permitted, the piles will not be picked up by public works and could very likely result in that resident being fined.

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