Hamer Resident Appears Before Council To Discuss Litter Problem

By Betsy Finklea
A Hamer resident appeared before the Dillon County Council at their regular meeting to discuss the deteriorating litter problem in the county.
“I’ve lived in Hamer most of my life and currently, it’s the worst I have ever seen it,” said Richard Calhoun. “I think it’s getting worse each year because there is a lack of deterrents in stopping the litter.”
“I know each of you is aware of this problem. I do appreciate and thank you for your recent emphasis of picking up the litter. I know you just recently have taken steps necessary to work on that problem, and it has been noticed dramatically,” said Calhoun. He said the clean-up has been remarkable in just a few short weeks and that people had taken notice of this.
Calhoun said there is a new county administrator and several new councilmen. He said he thinks that the council has an opportunity to make a difference where it really matters. He feels the council could really help with this problem.
Calhoun referred to an article in The Dillon Herald a couple of years ago where it addressed the enforcement issue. Cameras were to be put up, and tickets written. Unfortunately, Calhoun said, he didn’t think that ever happened.
Vice-Chairwoman Detrice Dawkins said cameras were put up, but no tickets were written. Calhoun said the research he has done shows that enforcement efforts do work while picking up the litter only contributes to additional litter. He thinks from a common sense standpoint that is what most people know. “If you don’t stop a bad behavior, you get more of it,” Calhoun said.
Calhoun said there are resources. The S.C. Legislature has passed laws allowing significant fines to be levied as well as community service requiring the offenders pick up litter for up to 40 hours a week. He thinks that enforcement efforts attached to a communication system of what’s occurring could significantly reduce that behavior.
Calhoun said he thinks that if a new council and a new administrator would commit the resources and put a code enforcement officer in place such as Larry German, that he could assess enough fines to reimburse the county for those resources instead of using the county taxpayer dollars to clean it up.
Councilman T.F. “Buzzy” Finklea said that in his district, Larry German came with his crew and cleaned up that road hauling off 2,000+ lbs. of trash, and a week later, mattresses and other debris had been thrown back out on the road. “We have gor to enforce it. Somebody has got to be fined,” Finklea said. Calhoun said he picks up on average three 55 gallon trash bags a month on just a short area of Red Road in Hamer.
“On Highway 301 from N.C. line to the Dillon City limits across our beautiful scenic river looks terrible, 95 percent of the time,” Calhoun said. He said at the time of the meeting, it looked great because it had just been cleaned up.
Chairman Stevie Grice said that the county administrator was in the process of getting someone certified to write tickets. Grice urges the citizens to quit throwing trash out because it is our citizens and taxpayers who keep doing it.
He said he knows that people come through the county, but it’s the citizens throwing the trash out and they need to respect their area and the area of other people more than they do and quit expecting someone else to take care of the problem. Hopefully, if they write some tickets, Grice said, that will help take care of some of the problem.
Vernon Grimsley said that since this is started the clean-up program they are close to 500,000 lbs. of trash that they have picked up.
Grice said the new county administrator plans on working on it.

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