2010-04-21 / News

Illegal dumping still a problem in county

By Tres Bragg

Burke County is getting trashier according to some county employees.

During last Tuesday’s county commission meeting, several employees voiced their concern over the amount of illegal trash being left at county dumpsters. “It’s worse than ever,” Jesse Burke, head of the road department, said. “People are leaving everything imaginable at the dumpsters and it’s taking more and more time for our workers to clean it up.”

Ralph Hankerson, Burke County landfill manager, added that it’s taking up more time than ever to clean up the items at dumpsters that citizens should be carrying to the landfill instead. “We really need some help with this problem,” Hankerson said. “I wish something could be done to help people understand that they can’t drop off just anything at the dumpsters.”

According to county administrator Merv Walrop, funding was made available to the Sheriff’s Office in October to help hire someone to patrol areas where trash is a problem.

Burke County Sheriff Greg Coursey explained that someone will eventually be appointed to that duty. “I understand that trash is a big problem in Burke County,” Coursey said. “But, back at that time we were being bombarded with thefts and burglaries, which required the attention from all of our deputies. I intend to hire someone for that duty, but it is not top priority right now.”

According to Coursey, the trash problem has been ongoing for years and the Sheriff’s Department has had deputies in charge of this in the past. However, Coursey explained that the issue doesn’t require a full-time position. “It’s not a full-time job,” Coursey said. “We will eventually find someone, but we need somebody who can multitask and have more job duties than just sitting at dumpsters. All of our deputies are doing their best to monitor the problem right now, but the serious crime going on in the county is our top priority at this time.”

Coursey also expressed his encouragement for citizens to help out. “Trash isn’t going to kill Burke County,” he said. “But, people in the community are going to have to help out with this in order to keep it under control. I think teaming up with (State Court Judge) Jerry Daniels would be a good idea so that people who are serving community service can help clean up the mess at dumpsters throughout the county.”

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