Mayor: Trash ‘out of control’

           Gautier Mayor Tommy Fortenberry shows an example of a property in his city that he says needs attention.

Gautier Mayor Tommy Fortenberry said he is tired of people treating the city streets like a dumping ground for garbage.

Property managers are also being asked not to throw out household garbage for the city to pick up.

“There are appliances, furniture and unbelievable amounts of debris being dumped in our city,” said Fortenberry. “We will no longer tolerate these (people) who dump and we will not put up with people throwing trash out their car windows.

“This situation is out of control. Tenants pay a rental deposit and property owners must pick up the garbage themselves and bring it to the landfill and not wait for the city to pick up the tab.”

Gautier spends thousands of dollars cleaning litter from the city’s streets — and an increasing amount comes from vacated homes, car drivers and their passengers, officials said.

City leaders are now backing a new anti-litter campaign to tackle street dumping and stop motorists who use streets as rubbish bins.

Starting this spring, the officials will distribute large garbage bins around the city for residents to use at no charge.

Council members recently approved a waste ordinance that allows code enforcement officials the authority to fine landlords who violate the city code. The city adopted the ordinance in January. It started Feb. 12.

The ordinance states that landlords found dumping debris on a road could be fined $179.50 a day.

Motorists who litter or dump within the city limits face a $300 fine.

“Those who violate our litter laws now can also be arrested and will face the embarrassment of bailing out of jail and court time,” Fortenberry said.

Fortenberry said he wants residents to get involved to help clean up the city.

Residents who witness motorists or landlords dumping garbage in the streets can call police at 497-2486.

By LEIGH COLEMAN – Sun Herald

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