published Saturday, February 18th, 2012

Jasper, Tenn., officials tackle garbage problems

By Ryan Lewis, Correspondent

JASPER, Tenn. -- Recent complaints about unacceptable garbage disposal from at least one resident and one business have led city officials to take a closer look at the town's ordinance.

Mayor Billy Simpson said he has fielded complaints of improper disposal of garbage by some property owners, and he and Police Chief Tim Graham have investigated the matter.

In one case, a square container constructed to hold garbage cans or bags is being used to dump loose trash, the mayor said.

"When our workers come by, they have to shovel it out or pick it up, and that's not what they're supposed to do," Simpson said.

Similar problems have occurred with at least one local business, he said, and when there are high winds, it causes even more trouble.

"The garbage was blowing everywhere," Simpson said. "Our men are picking it up piece by piece by hand. They don't have the time do that, and they shouldn't have to do that anyway."

Jasper Attorney Mark Raines said contact has been made with the property owners, but nothing has changed.

"Either they don't understand or they need additional clarification," he said. "As far as the two situations that we have right now, I'm in the process of drafting a letter to put these people on formal notice."

Officials said the letter will state that if the violators don't put their trash in an approved container or bag, the town's workers will not pick it up.

Violators also will be cited to City Court and fined $50 for each day they are not in compliance with the existing ordinance, Raines said.

"Certainly if the trash is blowing out into other people's yards and causing a nuisance to other land owners, [a citation] would be appropriate," he said. "The way our ordinance is worded, I think we can travel on that."

Raines said he thinks the city's existing ordinance is enough to deal with the current problems, but that more specific language probably should be added for clarification.

"Just to eliminate any confusion or argument in the future, it probably would be helpful to go back into the [existing] ordinance to specify things," he said.

Raines said he will draft language for the proposed changes to the ordinance for the board's consideration at its March 12 meeting.

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis34@gmail.com.

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