DOBSON — The county will reincarnate a program which stalled due to lack of available funds.
Tuesday evening the Surry County Board of Commissioners voted to fund a program which will pay non-profit groups for picking up roadside litter.
“Well, we ran out of money,” remarked County Manager Chris Knopf when explaining why the litter pick-up program halted nearly a decade ago.
As part of the program, non-profit groups will bag litter and the county will reimburse the groups for each bag of litter collected. Knopf said in the past the N.C. Department of Transportation provided the trash bags, but many details still needed to be worked out by him and planning department staff.
What the board did do was set the fiscal guidelines for the program, which were matters for debate among board members.
In the past the county paid $2 per bag, according to Knopf. The board also had to set a fiscal cap on the program. With $20,000 budgeted for the anti-litter campaign, Knopf recommended commissioners set aside $10,000 for the pick-up program.
“I say we can always go up,” said Commissioner Van Tucker. “Let’s start at $3 (per bag).”
Tucker made a motion to the effect, which board Chairman Buck Golding seconded, but not all members were on board.
“I think you will have a hard time getting interest at $3,” said Commissioner Larry Johnson, who noted he had taken part in the program with groups in the past.
Tucker said he was willing to entertain amending his motion to $3.50 per bag, but Golding “called the matter to question,” ordering a vote on Tucker’s motion. Commissioners Larry Phillips, Eddie Harris and Golding provided the necessary three votes to pass the motion at $3 per bag.
Commissioners approved a $10,000 limit on funding for the program with little discussion, and Knopf noted more money could be allotted in the future.
Children’s Center request
Commissioners opted to take no action on a request from the Children’s Center of Surry.
The center, which houses children ages 6 to 18 years old, requested commissioners waive landfill fees for the organization, which plans to discard mattresses, broken furniture and other items.
Phillips said he had concerns regarding a precedent the board may have set when it previously rejected such a request from Habitat for Humanity.
Board members raised concerns about the waiver of fees being open-ended, and Public Works Director Dennis Bledsoe noted some area residents donate stuff which can’t be used to organizations so as to avoid disposing of the items.
Tucker said he’d rather decline such a request and “compensate them in other ways.”
“They should plan for these costs and itemize it in their annual budget request,” suggested Tucker.
The request failed to gain traction when no commissioner offered a motion for its approval.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.