Litter dump

Lynne Hart, executive coordinator of Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful, snapped this photo in September of dumped items on Roy Long Road in Athens.

Athens officials have never shied away from their feelings about litter, and they didn't hold back at Monday's City Council meeting.

“We've talked about this ever since I've been on the council, and I've never seen it worse than what it is,” District 2 Councilman Harold Wales said. “I care, and I do stop and pick it up.”

He specifically pinpointed Lindsay Lane as an issue, particularly the southern end. He implored Mayor Ronnie Marks and city department heads to come up with a solution.

“We're going to have to do something if we're ever going to impress people when they drive down our streets,” Wales said. “We may not ever completely eliminate it, but we can do better than what we're doing.”

Wales' concern was shared by both Marks and District 5 Councilman Wayne Harper.

“Today, I picked up three or four beer cans across from my house,” Harper said.

Marks said he has picked up litter ever since he was elected. He told the council it's not the city's job to “babysit” its citizens but issued a plea for people to stop littering.

Athens resident Kelly Range told the council the problem is two-fold — not only are people throwing out trash, but right of way mowing cuts up the litter and scatters it. He also said the city isn't being tough enough and suggested litterbugs be required to pick up litter in lieu of paying a fine.

“It would take some planning, but I think we can do that,” he said.

Marks said the city has laws in place to deter littering. He was also receptive to Range's proposal.

“Citizens ought to quit chunking out bags of trash,” the mayor said. “They need to be doing hours of community work.”

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