Trash Talk: Smile for the Camera

Assistant County Administrator Richard Hicks has found his new favorite television show, and it’s one he’s allowed to watch at work.

He’s been watching citizens use the Brosville Convenience Center for a few weeks and noticing exactly what’s been going on at the site – and what is likely going on at every other site in Pittsylvania County.

Here’s some of what he’s seen: people diving into the open top boxes to pull out metals and usable furniture, North Carolina plates driving up to dump their trash, contractors and businesses coming in and out, among other things.

Very soon, the Board of Supervisors will be reviewing the Solid Waste Ordinance passed in May. Changes were presented to the Board at the July Work Session, and will be up for public hearing at the August business session.

The new text of the ordinance includes specific language regarding the enforcement of the ordinance which will make it possible for the Sheriff’s Office and the site attendants to write tickets.

For example, someone who lies about where the trash comes from – such as someone saying that trash is household garbage when it’s really contractor debris – will be suspended from using the solid waste services for a period of up to one year and charged with a Class 1 Misdemeanor.

Each day that the ordinance is violated will be considered a separate Class 1 Misdemeanor offense, and will be punishable by a fine of fifty dollars, if paid within ten days, or one hundred dollars, if not paid within ten days. It’s like a red light ticket – we snap a picture of the offendor, their license plate and what they’re throwing away. This is the same way that Bedford County does it, and it works well for them.

Those tickets are payable to the Treasurer’s Office and will be contestable. However, any reasonable attorney’s fees and cost that the County incurs during the contest period shall also be awarded to the County if and when it goes in our favor.

With the plan to have video cameras on all of the pilot sites within the next few months, and body cameras on the site attendants, the County does not believe it will have any issue enforcing this ordinance in the long run.

It will also make our employees’ lives significantly easier, which is something we should always aim for. We are still actively hiring for site attendants to help residents navigate the convenience centers and enforce the County’s ordinance. If you think you might be interested, I would encourage you to apply.

Finally, here’s my question for you, which I am asking at the end of each article I write. Is there something you’d like to see us change? Do you have suggestions for what we should add to our convenience centers to make your experience better? We want to know!