By NATHAN GREGORY
In order to devote more time to litter control, the Starkville Sanitation and Environmental Services Department has developed a plan to cut rubbish pickup to once a week per household. The change will be implemented next week.
In a release, SESD Director Sharon Boyd said rubbish pickup will be reduced from four to two days a week. Employees will handle rubbish on Mondays and Tuesdays and litter on Thursdays and Fridays. They will continue conducting the same routes currently in place.
“By implementing the rubbish/litter control, the city of Starkville would be making this a part of a focus on quality of life issues. By dealing with things like litter, we can make our neighborhoods safer, more orderly and more livable,” Boyd said in the release. “Beautification has been a subject that has received much attention from this Mayor (Parker Wiseman) and board, and litter cleanup would be a major part of the plan to achieve that goal.”
The change will have no effect on the garbage pickup schedule.
Wiseman said this is the first organized effort from the city to systematically pick up the litter on a regular basis.
“Since we have taken the rubbish service back in house over the past several months we have been performing a two-day-a-week rubbish pickup for all households,” he said. “Under the contract system we had until May of 2011, rubbish was picked up once a week per household. For the past several months as we’ve adjusted to having it in house, we’ve begun to have it twice a week. Now in order to accommodate the litter control program we’ll be picking up rubbish up once a week per household and we’ll do citywide litter control once per week.”
Ward 3 Alderman Eric Parker said he believes using the employees equally on both pickups will be a more comprehensive way of keeping a high quality of life in Starkville.
“What we’re able to do (with this change) is scale (SESD) back to once a week (on rubbish pickup) as has been standard practice. (Boyd) has done a really good job of setting up a route and a pattern of where they’re going to be working. She’s going to be able to do it in the budget she has now by utilizing personnel in a different way,” Parker said. “It will make a big difference in the look of our city, particularly right-of-ways. We won’t be able to pick up litter on private property and vacant lots but as far as trash on the right of way this will make a big difference.”
Boyd also said in the release that SESD would like to continue working with the city and Starkville Police Department on its Blue Bag program. The program helps citizens work off fines by completing community service projects. Boyd said she would like to enhance the coordination to provide designated areas that need more attention in the release
She also said she is in communication with Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Office to explore developing a program similar to the one the department has with SPD.
Boyd also said in the release that she has two Youth for Experience Works employees who work with an SESD employee to pick up litter every other day on the streets and right-of-ways. She has requested at least five additional workers whom she said SESD will receive this month.
Boyd was not available for comments outside of the release.