Amnesty Tires return for one week

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ELLIJAY, Ga. – Reviving its previous program from last year, Gilmer County has applied, and been approved, for its grant to run the Amnesty Tire Program from April 16 through April 21.

The program allows residents and citizens to bring old tires to the county’s landfill in order to dispose of the tires free of charge to the citizen. The program will only run one week this year leading up to Earth Day.

Keep Gilmer Beautiful Committee, in cooperation with the Gilmer County Solid Waste Department, is hosting “Amnesty Tire Week” for our residents as the program is in conjunction with the Keep Gilmer Beautiful Committee’s EARTH DAY EVENT, scheduled for Saturday, April 21, 2018.

Used tires can be taken to the Gilmer County Landfill at 456 Tower Road and dropped off free of charge during normal operating hours.

The following are the rules for Gilmer County residents only to take advantage of this free program:

  • Program is for non-commercial only;
  • Tires must be off the rim and free of water; and
  • Each household will be limited to 20 tires.

The county is also asking that if citizens have any questions, please call 706-635-7696 or 706-635-4589.

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Inmate trash pickup returns

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(Photo by Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office)

ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer County Board of Commissioners (BOC) has been considering litter in the county for over three months now.

As FetchYourNews originally reported in February, “Roadside trash concerns rising in Gilmer” and further discussed in a Special Called Meeting, the BOC was set to hire seasonal employees to cover trash pickup ahead of the county’s mowing team. With a cost close to $45,000, the board was all approved and ready to move forward with the hiring when Chairman Paris returned with another option that was approved in the March Regular Meeting. For a similar cost, the county could hire one extra sheriff’s deputy to supervise prison inmates to travel the roads instead.

This option would serve the county year-round instead of a specified summer season. Additionally, the program enlists inmates of the prison system to provide service to the county during incarceration.

According to the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office, “Despite a very cool and wet last two weeks, Sheriff’s Office inmate work detail has performed litter pick up on Big Creek Road and as of April 9, 2018, has moved on to Roy Road. The inmate workers have picked up 117 bags of litter and have delivered 2,300 pounds of garbage to the Gilmer Landfill.”

The project was approved in the March meeting of the BOC with set expectations to analyze and monitor the progress so that the commissioners could keep track of the project.

The Sheriff’s Office has utilized an inmate workforce to pick up litter on the county’s roadways in the past. However, according to the Sheriff’s Office, “Budget cuts beginning in 2009 caused the program to come to an end.”

With the new funding allocation covering salary and benefits of a deputy sheriff, the office is utilizing equipment it already possessed to operate the transportation and needs of the job.

Originally, the BOC stated that with the mowing season upon us, these crews would travel ahead of the mowing teams. Gilmer County Sheriff Stacy Nicholson confirmed the immediate goal for the inmate work detail will be to go ahead of the county’s Road Department mowing crews, so the litter can be picked up before the mowers shred and scatter it.

He went on to add that on inclement weather days, the inmates will be utilized to accomplish “inside” jobs. As the work detail gets caught up ahead of the mowing schedule, it will be bounced around to address problem areas when possible.

With an ongoing concern by citizens and businesses about the issue of litter in the county, Chairman Paris has stated that this is not the end answer, but a step towards a solution.

Sheriff Nicholson would like to remind everyone that there are pretty costly fines for anyone convicted of littering and that “intent” is not a requirement of the offense, meaning trash blowing out of the bed of a pickup truck is just as much “littering” as someone purposely throwing it out the window of his or her car. Fines for someone caught littering can reach $1,000.

 

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East Ellijay City Council discusses litter and police

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EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – Having hired a contract employee for picking up litter on city streets, the East Ellijay City Council approved the spending for the contract. The employee is working alongside the street department and services the area for litter control. Along with the item of the employee, East Ellijay Mayor Mack West spoke to the council saying, “I, personally, feel like we need to assess different penalties for litter violations applicable to repeat offenders.”

The Gilmer county commissioners have already been discussing the item after an increase of community requests to deal with the issue. Continuing the discussion, East Ellijay is now also on board increasing response and control of the litter.

Though no official action set a specific number increasing from the current $236 public littering fine, Mayor West did ask the members of council if they would be okay with increasing the fines with none speaking out in opposition. Additionally, East Ellijay Police Chief Larry Callahan discussed speaking with officers to pay more attention to the issue and those who they see littering. This discussion came on top of officially approving the policy for litter control and having the extra employee.

Also, in the Police Department, the council approved purchasing three patrol car cameras for the department. Callahan said that with the vast majority of other law enforcement agencies already having cameras, courts are beginning to throw out cases without the video evidence supporting traffic violations. With the estimate Callahan has received, the $10,650 cost of purchasing and installing the cameras will be split. Two of the cameras will be paid out of the city’s hotel-motel fund, and the third camera will be paid for out of the police confiscation fund.

With the change in courts handling of their cases, Callahan spoke with the council about the camera purchases saying, “It’s a ‘have-to’ essentially.” Callahan is also looking to purchase another three cameras next budget year.

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Commissioners Start to Clean Up

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The Gilmer County Board of Commissioners is hitting its spring cleaning early. The Commissioners made motions referring to litter, surplus equipment, and a possible event involving tires in conjunction with Earth Day as well as a new benefit to County employees.

One major change came as the Commissioners discussed a change to their litter ordinance. Receiving input from county courts saying the current ordinance was “unenforceable,” the Commissioners discussion eventually turned to the State Code. Officially voting on Thursday, February 9, the Commissioners decided to repeal their County Litter Ordinance.

What this means for Gilmer, according to Commission Chairman Charlie Paris, is the County will be enforcing the State Code in that place and will not be maintaining a County Ordinance over it. However, the Commissioners did leave a section in the County’s Books for the Ordinance should a future Commission ever find need to create one again.

In line with the idea of cleaning up litter and trash, the County is set to officially declare an event, likely in April, for a Free Tire Collection event. The Board is also moving forward with applications for a Grant for three trailers worth of tires to be collected. Excluding commercial tire operations, people could bring tires from their home or found elsewhere to the landfill on Tower Road to freely load onto the trailers for disposal. Originally estimated to cost $1,375 for one trailer, the County would be reimbursed for that cost should the Grant be approved.

During their Wednesday Work Session, February 8, the Commissioners continued began a process to approve a disposal of Broken Office Equipment. Discussion quickly arose for incorporation of “broken, surplus, and obsolete equipment” from all the county’s departments to begin a more comprehensive clean-up. Citizens have also suggested the Commissioners advertise and allow citizens to find equipment or items they may want before the County moves forward with general disposal.

One new change for the Commissioners came from a proposal by Mike Brumby, Director of Whitepath Golf Course, in their work session. The proposal offered an additional benefit to county employees in the form of a reduced cost membership to Whitepath Golf Course. As an addition to the county’s benefit package, full-time employees will will no receive 1 membership to be used by them or an immediate family member, or a full Family Membership, at half the costs. Likely to increase traffic to the course, the new benefit was approved by the Commissioners.

Additionally, the Board has also approved returning Paul Nealey and Chairman Charlie Paris to the Resource Conservation and Development Council. The approval came at a 2-1 vote with Dallas Miller the dissenting vote stating he could not see a benefit or reason to continue supporting appointments to the council. On the other side, Chairman Paris stated that while he may not see an immediate benefit either, as long as the council existed, he wished to maintain a presence to ensure the county’s interests on it.

For more on the Gilmer County Board of Commissioners, view their February Work Session and Regular Meeting below:

Work Session

 

Regular Meeting

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