Supes awarded clean up grant
by Rory Doyle
Jun 12, 2013 | 1388 views | 0 0 comments | 55 55 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Bolivar County Board of Supervisors announced earlier this month it received a grant from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to boost cleanup efforts throughout the county.

The $17,000 grant helps get rid of countywide illegal dumping sites; leading to a movement District 3 Supervisor Preston Billings coined Operation Cleanup Bolivar County.

"Along with the help of County Administrator Will Hooker, we started looking for money in January of 2012," said Billings. "We have visible sites in Bolivar County where illegal dumping has become an eyesore.

"We took pictures of these sites, documented them and sent the information to the MDEQ. We met the prerequisites to get the grant and help the cleanup effort begin."

While details have yet to be finalized, Billings said the county and municipalities will likely partner with local contractors to pick up the trash and transfer larger objects to a landfill in Greenville.

Most of the problem items, including household electronics and trash, computers and burned wood, are not accepted at the county's smaller landfill in Boyle.

The money will also help pay the fees for dumping in Greenville.

"I want this to work well for the municipalities," said Hooker. "There are more illegal dumping sites than I knew about. This grant should help us move on the issue and be more proactive.

"We have established a great relationship with the MDEQ. Our desire is not for this to be a one-time thing. Our plan is to lead with this program and hopefully they will support us again financially."

Billings has already started the effort by networking with church leaders and volunteers in his district by cleaning up every other Saturday.

"I can't get around to each community to clean them up by myself," said Billings. "We need the initiative and direction from our municipal leaders and citizens.

"If we expect more people to move here, we want visitors to see how clean it is. Operation Cleanup Bolivar County is about pride in keeping our property and streets clean. We need to lead by example."

Billings added that support from local church officials makes a noticeable impact.

"When the lay persons see the city and church doing these things, they will follow along," he said. "Everything starts with leadership — the members will follow."

Hooker said plans are underway to determine how the grant will be distributed for transportation, contractor and dumping costs.