During the second Community Listening Session held last month in partnership by the Johnson County Fiscal Court and the City of Paintsville, Judge/ Executive Mark McKenzie discussed, among other issues, county cleanup efforts.
In a statement released to Paintsville Herald staff by Judge McKenzie and the fiscal court, the ways in which local government agencies are presently working to clean up the county were identified.
The Johnson County Fiscal Court, according to the statement, worked throughout 2019 to address issues regarding solid waste by utilizing projects such as roadside clean ups, applying for funding to clean up illegal dumps and countywide cleanup vouchers.
“During 2019, Johnson County participated in many roadside cleanup projects with the cooperation of community members, elected officials, county employees, state road department employees, local businesses, community service workers and state inmates,” the statement said. “These efforts, which included clean up during PRIDE month of April, resulted in a total collection of road side litter in the amount of 29 tons (58,000 lbs).”
The statement also said several community partners, particularly Johnson County Jailer Steve Rose and Solid Waste Coordinator Monica Spriggs, assisted in the efforts.
McKenzie also said, however, that there will be some changes to the county’s efforts.
“Johnson County is partnering with the Soil Conservation District to implement an anti-littering campaign in the school systems during the week of Earth Day for 2020,” the statement said. “The educational piece will be important to teaching our future generations about the negative impacts on littering.”
The educational component will be necessary, according to McKenzie.
“While we will keep up the roadside cleanup efforts, there must also be a change in attitude toward littering and the negative impact littering has on our wonderful community,” he said in the statement.
Johnson County, the statement said, also applied for funding to cleanup dumpsites through the Department of Solid Waste Management along with a joint application with the Soil Conservation District.
According to the statement, dump sites that will be addressed in 2020 include: Route 3390, Little Mud Lick, Dawkins Avenue, Staves Branch, Pricetown Road and Millers Creek. As new dump sites are identified, they will be added to future efforts, the statement said.
The statement then addressed the County Wide Cleanup Voucher program that was introduced last June, which gave eligible residents a voucher to bring a load of garbage or unwanted items to Apple Valley Sanitation at no cost.
“The voucher program was very successful and 526 households participated,” the statement said. “The voucher program was designed to provide a much-needed service of a county wide cleanup to the community in a way that allows for accountability of both residents and county funds and promote compliance of our existing ordinance.”
the statement said Johnson County has been evaluating the number of residents that are not in compliance with the mandatory ordinance and going forward will work to ensure compliance to the ordinance. Additionally, there appears to be a direct connection in areas that have low participation in the mandatory trash collection or proper disposal methods and higher numbers of illegal dumps in those areas.
The statement then addressed the topic of reintroducing a recycling program to the area.
“Meetings are being scheduled with state and area officials to assist in the possible development of a recycling program,” the statement said. “The Waste Tire Collection Program (formerly known as tire amnesty) is an ongoing state funded program to rid Kentucky’s landscape of waste tires. Individuals can drop off their unwanted tires at a location within their county free of charge during the collection period. The tires are recycled through “beneficial end use” markets to become products such as tire-derived fuel or crumb rubber.
“The Waste Tire Collection Program rotates by region and will be happening in Johnson County in 2020,” the statement said.