Volunteers, requests for assistance needed for citywide cleanup

Jun 9, 2017

From The Decatur Daily
by Bayne Hughes

As Decatur prepares to start a citywide clean-up this weekend, the Volunteer Center of Morgan County is taking requests for assistance and seeking volunteers to fulfill those requests.

Volunteer Center Director Kay Woller said Mayor Tab Bowling asked her nonprofit to match volunteers with elderly and disabled residents who are unable to clean up their properties.

“So far, we don’t have any requests for assistance even though we have several groups looking for the opportunity to help,” Woller said.

 Residents who need assistance should call 256-355-8628. They should leave a contact name and phone number so someone from the center can contact them on the details.

The city’s Street and Environmental Services Department is sponsoring a “Let’s Clean Up Decatur!” effort to remove residents’ unwanted items that are not usually picked up by loader trucks.

Bowling wants residents to begin the cleanup Saturday so items are waiting on the road for pickup by Street and Environmental Services personnel between Monday and June 24.

Street and Environmental Services Director Rickey Terry said the city will pick up these items that it usually doesn’t pick up: tires, storage buildings, fencing, and landscaping and building materials.

The City Council voted Monday night to waive tipping fees on items carried to the Decatur-Morgan County Landfill during the two weeks and allow Street and Environmental Services employees to earn overtime during the cleanup.

“You must bring an ID to show you are a Decatur resident,” Terry said. “If someone wants a vehicle to be removed, they must have the title.”

Street Department employees will be helping their counterparts in Sanitation remove the big items left by residents.

 The city will not remove contractor’s waste, batteries, fluids or hazardous chemicals. The department holds a separate chemical collection day on the second Saturday of the month at its office at 1802 Central Parkway S.W.

District 2 Councilwoman Kristi Hill said she hopes residents in the city’s other four districts will follow the lead of East Decatur residents, which held a cleanup last weekend “that was very successful.”

Cleaning up Decatur became an issue earlier this year when city officials began studying ways to cut costs in the garbage service.

The council is considering a controversial proposal to eliminate alley pickup. Council President Chuck Ard put the issue on hold until Terry can show specific financial savings in the proposal.

The city is also requiring apartment owners to use dumpsters instead of allowing their tenants to use city-provided garbage bins. Apartment owners must now pay for the dumpsters and the removal of large items, a service that was previously provided by the city for some complexes.

Terry told the council the tenants aren’t properly using their bins, often overflowing them with garbage, using bins without lids and not placing them in the proper location for pickup.