10/30/05 — City taking aim at litter bugs

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City taking aim at litter bugs

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on October 30, 2005 2:06 AM

Candy wrappers, cigarette butts, pizza boxes, a rusted out washer and dryer and one rotted out tire.

Litter bugs are swarming the city and leaving their mark in various ways.

Mayor Al King said as he drove down Ash Street one afternoon earlier this year, he noticed an elderly woman pulled over to the side of the road near Stoney Creek Park.

With traffic buzzing and no opportunity to turn around in sight, King said he kept watch in the rearview mirror to make sure the woman was safe.

He noticed her trunk open and assumed that she had blown a tire and was in need of some assistance.

"I wanted to help her," King said.

Just then, he noticed something that quickly changed his attitude.

"She pulled an old tire from the trunk, set it on the ground, and rolled it down the hill into a wooded area," he said.

King said the last thing he saw was the woman hurrying back to her car, shutting the driver-side door and speeding off.

The mayor told this story to council members and department heads at the City Council's mini-retreat held Oct. 12 at the Herman Park Center. His goal was to exemplify what many consider a major problem plaguing Goldsboro -- littering.

"I would love to find out who that woman was," King said.

Since their elections, councilmen have stressed the importance of cleaning up the city. Going after litter bugs, they said, is an important step in this process.

Jackie Warrick, former chief of police and current District 6 councilman, said two of the key ingredients in fighting the litter problem are raising awareness in the community and getting people involved.

Warrick also said that it's difficult to catch people in the act without help from the public.

"People aren't going to throw litter out in front of a police car," he said. " So you're lucky when you catch somebody."

Warrick added that Goldsboro is a cleaner city since the council identified littering as a concern.

"I can see an improvement already," he said. "We've been trying to clean up the city through code enforcement and by trying to make people more aware of how serious the problem is and it seems to be working."

County officials are also working hard to ensure trash and litter problems don't get worse.

Wayne County code enforcement officer Capt. Joe Allen said part of his job is making sure people don't leave unsightly trash and litter around their property. Additionally, they enforce regulations that instruct people in the county to remove their garbage within seven days.

If residents violate these rules, Allen said the county will usually issue a warning, and if the problem persists, take them to court where a fine is handed down.

Allen also said that neighbors are a great help and that their assistance makes Wayne County cleaner.

"We do have people calling in and letting us know when neighbors aren't taking out their trash," he said.