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Hogansville looks to tackle litter problem

The city of Hogansville is looking for new ways to create and instill community pride to reduce the litter problem.

Councilwoman Mandy Neese expressed concern from citizens about how Main Street and the surrounding area is always clean but other streets within the city have trash on the sidewalks or roads.

“The thing is people right there maintain it themselves,” Neese said. “I wish we had a way of encouraging residents to clean up their portion of the sidewalk. I know it doesn’t technically belong to them but if it all gets cleaned up we could maybe find a way to maintain the cleanliness.”

Council members discussed how city of LaGrange hosts a once a month clean up with different departments in different parts of the city.

“They always get tons of people to volunteer,” Neese said. “We could do something like that, but we just have to get people around the idea. If we all got out and just picked one street and led by example, that would be great.”

Neese said that when she goes walking every week, she always makes sure to bring trash bags with her to pick up trash along the way.

“We’ve got to get people behind this whole grassroots idea and see if they will be compelled to help,” Neese said.

“If someone in the Village is upset about how awful it is, we should see if they want to help.”

Councilwoman Toni Striblin recommended doing a ‘Council Cleanup’ on a Saturday one month. Striblin also noted that the city has to lead by example of cleaning up project areas when they tear down old blighted buildings.

Mayor Bill Stankiewicz expressed concern that the litter problem began when Troup County got away with the prison worker system.

“The county got rid of it without consultation from us, and it put us in a terrible hole in terms of ma power, and we have not recovered since,” Stankiewicz said.

“They disappeared overnight, and it was a huge hit to us.”

When the program was around, approximately 15 to 16 prison workers were used in Hogansville for a few hours during the week to help with litter pick up and other landscaping task items.

“We have got to start filling that void and figuring out how to reverse those damages,” Neese said.

“It goes back to employee morale and pay as well. The public works employee average pay is $13 an hour, and we are going to have to find a way to get them up to that $15 an hour.”

City Manager Jonathan Lynn noted that when the Hogansville Police Department or public works employees are finding trash bags in abandoned lots or on the roads, they are opening the trash.

“On several cases, they have started going through the trash and finding mail and bills and going back to those houses and issuing fines,” Lynn said.

The council agreed on figuring out a plan for citywide clean-ups, to promote anti-littering campaigns on Facebook and to begin educating youth in the city on littering as well.