County conducts litter control officer interviews
NATCHEZ — A new officer is coming to town, and he or she will be out to clean it up. Literally.
The Adams County Board of Supervisors interviewed five candidates Tuesday for the newly created position of county solid waste enforcement officer. Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said six people applied for the job, but only five showed up for interviews, which were conducted in executive session.
Board attorney Scott Slover said the interviews were done in executive session because the candidates had other jobs and had an expectation of privacy when they interviewed for the position.
Grennell said the supervisors would meet again Thursday to have final interviews with two candidates who stood out.
“This officer will have the ability to write tickets for littering, and they will have the ability to monitor dump sites where people dump illegally,” he said. “They are also going to be involved in monitoring property that is overgrown that has become a safety hazard.”
The new officer will write letters to landowners with hazardous properties telling them to clean them up, and if the property owner does not comply, the officer will notify the supervisors, who will take the appropriate steps to have the road department clean the land and have the bill placed on the property’s tax rolls, Grennell said.
The board president also said the litter control officer will play a major role in educating the community about littering and illegal dumping.
The supervisors adopted a new litter control ordinance Monday that defines parameters of how litter control can be enforced. Slover said the previous litter ordinance had penalties attached to it, but it did not have the legal mechanisms necessary for enforcement.
The new ordinance recapitulates the thrust of the previous ordinance, defining littering as a misdemeanor crime with a $1,000 fine attached to it.
Slover said the ordinance was based on a draft ordinance from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, but the supervisors made two changes.
The first change was to clarify that those who “knowingly, willingly or negligently” littered or created an illegal dumpsite would be held legally culpable, Slover said.
The second change was to the amount of the fine, which was originally for a lesser amount in the MDEQ draft, he said.
County Administrator Joe Murray said he would like for the new officer to be hired by March so he or she can attend a training session for litter enforcement officers that the MDEQ will provide in mid-March.