Still no 'litter cop' in county

The Mohave County supervisors began a crackdown on a perennial trash problem in April 2000 when they approved recommendations that included a $2 landfill surcharge to pay for efforts to reduce the problem.

The supervisors authorized the surcharge to pay for collection of household hazardous wastes and to hire a "litter cop," Assistant Public Works Director Mike Hendrix said.

The county has collected about $200,000 a year from the fee, Hendrix said.

He said the county has spent half of the amount scheduling collection days once a year in the Bullhead City and Kingman areas.

"The goal is to give people an avenue for disposing of these (hazardous) materials that are not accepted at the landfill and to remove these materials from the waste collected," Hendrix said.

He said waste paints and other materials can be recycled.

Hendrix said the litter cop position was supposed to go through the budget process for the 2000-2001 fiscal year but was never filled.

The Mohave County Trash Force, which proposed the landfill surcharge, recommended hiring the litter cop, who was supposed to receive law enforcement certification, Hendrix said.

The litter cop would not work out the Mohave County Sheriff's Office, MCSO spokesman Jarrod Lyman said.

He said deputes investigate illegal dumping "and do everything in our best efforts to bring the responsible party to justice."

The job probably would fall under the environmental health division of the Mohave County Health and Social Services Department, interim environmental health manager Larry Webert said.

However, he said hiring the employee would not solve an ongoing problem of trash on private property.

"If we had somebody to enforce it, we are still not providing a service for (property owners) to get rid of the trash," Webert said.

"We can do all we can in terms of enforcement, but if somebody does not provide a solution, enforcement becomes meaningless."

Webert suggested transfer stations, where property owners could take their trash, or changing the hours at the county-operated Cerbat Landfill near Chloride.

The landfill is open from 7 a.m.

to 3 p.m.

weekdays and 8 a.m.

to 3 p.m.

Saturdays.

The trash issue resurfaced Feb.

19 during a meeting of the county supervisors in Bullhead City.

District 1 Supervisor Pete Byers discussed creating an enforcement team modeled on the MAGNET narcotics unit "and have them go after people who are trashing up the place."

Byers said this week he wants to address the trash problem in the 2002-2003 budget, which will take effect July 1.

"I have not made any headway," he said.

"I'm still working on it."

District 2 Supervisor Tom Sockwell of Bullhead City said 25 percent of the calls to his office come from constituents complaining about trash accumulating on their neighbors' properties.

"We need to put something in place to allow us to clean things up," Sockwell said.

Sockwell recommended empowering the county to place liens on the private property to recover cleanup costs.

The environmental health division has the power but seldom places liens on properties because of up-front costs, Webert said.

He added that it may take a few thousand dollars to clean up a property.

Byers said it might take years to recover the costs because the county has to wait until property is sold.

"Liening the property is a great idea," he said.

"What do you do in the meantime? We've got to have a solution for the trash (problem)."