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County road trash problem discussed at Fulton County Quorum Court

Monday, October 31, 2011

(Photo)
Ozark Disposal Service, which provides garbage pick up in rural Fulton County, now collects bags only if they display this bright orange sticker. Stickers are provided to paying customers, in an attempt to stop non-customers from putting garbage at collection sites. Fulton County government is issuing citations to people who leave bags without stickers along county roads, in an effort to stop the spread of trash along the roads.
If you are not a customer of Ozark Disposal Service, stop placing trash at the company's collection sites.

County Judge Charles Willett issued that warning at the Monday, Oct. 17 meeting of the Fulton County Quorum Court.

"One of the major issues the sheriff and I have dealt with the last couple of weeks is complaints about trash in the county roads," Willett told Justices of the Peace.

According to Willett, John Coffey, owner of Ozark Disposal Service, has begun a new system to try to stop picking up trash from people who are not customers of his company.

Because rural customers place their garbage at county road intersections for pick up, non-customers often just add to the pile.

The company recently began sending orange stickers to customers, with instructions for them to place the stickers on trash bags and items they leave for pick up.

Because Ozark Disposal Service no longer collects bags without the stickers, dogs and other animals are getting into bags left behind, scattering the trash.

Troy Franks of the Forestry Department, who serves as the county's trash controller, has been going through bags and, in many cases, identifying who left them.

"When he finds out who's doing it, he's contacting them and letting them come and pick it up," Foley explained. "If they don't do that, he is issuing a citation for it."

Quorum Court members were asked to think about possible solutions to the problem, which will be discussed again at the next meeting.

In other action, Justices of the Peace unanimously approved the appointment of John Ed Welch to the Fulton County Hospital Board of Governors. Judge Willett appointed Welch to replace Jerry Estes, who resigned from the board late last month.

Christy Puckett of Safe Passage, an organization which assists victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Fulton and Izard Counties, asked the court to support an initiative to help fund the organization.

"If at all possible, add our agency on the bottom of tax assessment forms that come out as an option for citizens to donate on the assessments, and that would be an additional source of revenue for us without coming out of any county funds," Puckett proposed.

County Attorney Dewayne Plumlee said he was unsure whether soliciting voluntary donations on tax assessment forms would be legal.

Puckett said Izard County currently includes an option to donate to ICARE, Izard County Animal Rescue, on its assessment forms.

Quorum Court decided to delay action on the request until Plumlee could research the issue.

Safe Passage operates an outreach office at the First Baptist Church in Salem, but is in need of financial assistance to keep it in operation.

John Sontag, the safety officer and emergency manager for the Fulton County Hospital, also addressed the board.

Sontag is working to apply for a grant to fund a security system for the hospital. In order to proceed, quorum court needs to pass a resolution supporting the grant and agreeing to receive any funds awarded and pass them on to the hospital.

According to Sontag, the grant would come through the Department of Rural Services.

"It's a community enhancement grant and the one I'm hoping to apply for is $150,000," Sontag explained. "The one nice thing about this grant is there is no matching funds and there is also no in-kind donations required."

Sontag said the hospital's only security system is "lock and key," and modern systems are needed to control access to the hospital pharmacy, emergency room and other sensitive areas. The system would also allow the hospital to "lock down" all outside entrances during evening and overnight hours. By requiring visitors to come in through the main entrance, the hospital could improve security by monitoring who is coming and going from the facility.

Sontag wanted an immediate supporting resolution passed because the deadline to apply for the grant is Nov. 18.

Quorum court members delayed action, however, deciding they should not act until the hospital board has heard and approved the security system proposal.

Quorum court did approve a request to support a grant request by the Fulton County Fair Association. The association is seeking a $15,000 grant to help fund an expansion of the fairground's exhibit building.

Other business included approving two grants received by the sheriff's department: a $500 Walmart grant and a $3500 Justice Administration grant. Funds from the JAG grant will be used to purchase five "stingers," devices which attach to an officer's vest to allow a patrol car's dashboard camera to be automatically activated to record audio and video at a traffic stop.

Judge Willett has purchased a sound system for the courtroom to address complaints that citizens who attend quorum court meetings cannot hear court discussions, since the audience sits a distance from the table members gather around.The attempt to use the system at the Oct. 17 meeting resulted in static and feedback, but no sound.

The judge will attempt to get the system working properly by the next meeting.



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