Mayor floats tax idea

Published 5:09 am Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What can Atmore do about its littering problem?

How about a tax on restaurant takeout orders? That was an idea Mayor Jim Staff has considered to help cut down on the problem, he told citizens gathered at a District 4 town hall meeting Monday evening. Councilwoman Susan Smith hosted the town hall.

Staff said the money from the tax on takeout containers — some of which end up on the street — could be used to help the city pay to clean up trash on city streets.

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“I would dearly love a suggestion on how to cut down on (littering),” Staff said. “It bothers me.”

Staff said the city currently charges a $500 fine to anyone caught littering, but, as Smith added, catching someone and taking it through the proper channels is not as easy as it sounds.

“We’re going to have to start identifying perpetrators,” she said. “You have to sign a warrant against them and be willing to testify. That’s an ordeal.

“If a car is passing by fast it’s hard to identify them,” she added. “I don’t know any other way to stop it.”

Staff said he’s only caught three people littering since he joined the council and since he has been mayor.

District 4 resident Delores Gandy said she notices litter after weekends in her neighborhood.

“There are cans, beer bottles, McDonald’s and Burger King containers on the ground on weekends at night,” she said.

Resident Lois McKenzie said it might be a good idea to hold the driver of a car responsible for the litter thrown from it.

“If you don’t know who did it blame the driver,” she said. “That’s a good way to stop it because the driver will become concerned.”

Smith suggested that churches and other groups get involved to help bring an end to the problem. She said groups could plan weekly cleanups.