JASPER, Tenn. — During the winter months, local businessman Terry Kerlin pestered the Jasper Board of Mayor and Aldermen about rectifying the town's litter problem.
In March, board members promised to have a plan to present to Kerlin at the board's June meeting.
When Kerlin showed up last week to hear it, there didn't seem to be a specific plan of action.
"We were supposed to have something for you in June," Alderman Josh Jennings told Kerlin. "Have we done anything?"
Mayor Paul Evans said city workers have been "down there" picking up litter when they've had the time to do it.
"That's our goal — to do that when we have men free — to go down there and do that," he said.
Kerlin said that was an improvement.
"You were supposed to present a plan," he said.
Evans said he'd like to see more people adopt streets around Jasper.
Parkridge West, for instance, has adopted a portion of U.S. Highway 28, he said.
"Well, I'd love to see [the hospital] help us on Industrial [Boulevard] because Highway 28 is picked up by the [county] litter crew," Evans said. "That would help."
Litter pickup on the highway is only done once every three months, Kerlin said.
He said there are three things city leaders could do to help with the litter problem.
"Remediation, enforcement and education," Kerlin said. "That's what I was hoping to hear about. Enforce the law. I think it will take a lot of work off of you as the mayor. It'll relieve the 'unsightness' of it. It's an easy task to administer."
Jennings said he spoke with the local Lions Club chapter, and that organization promised to "take on that task" of trying to put together volunteers necessary to adopt streets throughout Jasper.
"If we can get everybody to take a street, that's one way we can do our part on the volunteer side," he said.
Kerlin asked if he could "get something written" from the board on the matter.
There should be a guide so people know their roles and responsibilities, he said.
"I think it's improved since the last time you were here," Evans said.
Before the town commits to a specific written plan, City Attorney Mark Raines said the issue would need to be discussed with Jasper's insurance carrier.
"I don't think the board is prepared to answer that for you tonight," Raines told Kerlin. "It's something we can continue to look into, though."
Again, board members promised to work out a plan — this time by the board's regular meeting on Aug. 12.
"I'll come back," Kerlin said. "So who has the responsibility to put something together?"
"That would be me," Evans said.
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at email@example.com.
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