DeSoto County will soon implement a fee system to better recoup costs for rubbish removal operations but the new policy will still include at least one regular free removal pickup per route run for taxpayers before fees or costs associated with removal kick in.
DeSoto County Road Manager Andy Swims said his department is getting the word out that the new fee system is tentatively set to go into effect on June 1.
In a subsequent email, Swims said he wants to make sure the public is adequately notified so additional mailers or notices are going about the new policy. It could be later than June 1 before the new brush removal policy goes into effect.
"This is being done in an effort to keep taxes low and prevent abuse," Swims said, adding that the county's rubbish and limb removal service is sometimes abused by commercial operations and private tree removal and trimming services who place debris in front of people's homes instead of hauling off brush material.
Heavy rains and an onslaught of tree trimming and brush removal have made springtime difficult for county rubbish crews to stay ahead of demands to pick up brush, according to Swims.
The one free pickup of anything less than one-truck load of rubbish pickup per route run will consist of anything less than approximately 600 cubic feet or a five-foot wide by five-foot tall, 24-inch long load of rubbish.
"For citizens placing rubbish/tree limbs by the road, we will pick up anything less than one-truck load free each time we make our route," Swims said. "Our route may be one week or up to three weeks depending on the amount of debris citizens are putting out countywide. So, our policy is pretty generous. However, we do not pick up for tree service companies — ever — they are not allowed to leave limbs or rubbish on the roadside. For tree services that violate this, we seek a fine plus request reimbursement though the court system if we end up picking it up."
Swims said the same is true for all commercial businesses, not just tree trimming services.
A fee of $100 will be assessed for pickups greater than one load; $200 greater than two loads; and $300 greater than three loads. Payment must be made within 14 days from the date of the scheduled pickup or the county's litter ordinance will be applied.
For the rubbish placed at the road or street that exceeds a truck load, DeSoto County will charge this fee in excess of 20 cubic yards which must paid prior to pickup.
Two weeks will be given for payment. Payment can be made online or by check. Records will be kept by the Road Department.
In a related matter, county road/rubbish crews will be outfitted with cell phones — totaling eight — that can take real-time photos of debris placed curbsides and those images will be instantaneous to the situation.
District 4 Supervisor Lee Caldwell said the images can also be useful when determining ditch erosion and other matters.
The cell phones will cost approximately $600 a month.
District 2 Supervisor Mark Gardner was of the opinion that eight additional cell phones cable of capturing images was no necessary and that a digital camera could perform the same task.
Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at email@example.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.