In light of recent concerns received regarding citations issued to individuals using local county dumpsites, Magistrate Judge Dawn Braddy, County Administrator Guy Singletary, and Emanuel County Code Officers Justin Morris and Stephen Graham sat down in a meeting with The Blade to discuss and address concerns.
According to Singletary, the county, on average, spends approximately $150,000 per year picking up trash off the grounds of dumpsites and roadsides throughout the county, which includes an approximate 300 miles of paved roads and an additional 600 miles of dirt roads. In addition to the $150k spent on trash pickup, an additional $1,000,000 is dedicated to the disposal of trash in trash containers. If everyone did their part to help with litter control, this number could be reduced.
“Emanuel County code enforcement officers are asked by the Board of Commissioners to help clean up the community. Our biggest concerns received from the community is the dumpsites and trash on the side of the roadways. We have a significant amount of trash to deal with, above and beyond what we’ve ever handled, and for the most part, we do a pretty good job at handling it. However, it could be handled much better if we received more compliance from residents. Just think of where county funds could be allocated if we didn’t have to spend $150,000 each year picking up trash off the ground,” Singletary commented. “
The county’s base fine per charge is approximately $200, plus state add-ons of $90. The county can charge up to $500 per charge, which would end up totaling to $725 with the add-ons of $225. One or two citations with two charges on each could be no less than $580. Judge Braddy, based on the violation, has decreased the fine in half at times to try to help the citizens.
“I try to treat people with respect and equality, just as I like to be treated and is what I promised in my 2020 election campaign,” Judge Braddy stated.
In addition to trash accumulating on the ground, issues with items being left at dumpsites for others to pick up was another topic addressed during the Wednesday meeting session.
“The county dumpsites are not ‘swap shops’. When large items are left on the grounds at trash sites, it prevents dump trucks from emptying trash cans and others from being able to park in close range to the trash cans to dispose of their trash. Large items or commercial building’s garbage should be taken to the transfer station, not county dumpsites.” Singletary added.
For those who do not know: Emanuel County’s transfer station has changed its hours of operation to be more suitable for citizens to use. The new hours of Emanuel County’s transfer station are 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. on Wednesdays. The transfer station is closed Sundays. Loads taken to the transfer station that weigh in less than one ton are free. Individuals hauling loads to the transfer station that exceed one ton will have to pay approximately $40 per ton. Also to be noted, credit cards are now being accepted as forms of payment.
“If you have items that are in good condition and think someone can use them, please do not put them on the ground at dump sites, because this will cause a citation to be issued. Contact area churches that accept gently used items to assist those in need or the Hinton House located in Adrian. We all have to work together to keep Emanuel County clean,” Judge Braddy stated.
“For the past couple of years, our code enforcement officers have been issuing a ton of citations. We are fortunate to have a judge who will hold people accountable for their actions but, at the same time, uses discretion and judgement to determine if that person has made a mistake and needs to be forgiven or warned. The commissioners and I support Judge Braddy and her decisions to the fullest,” Singletary commented.
“The citizens of the county are fortunate that we have a code. And the reason I say that is – there is nothing within this county code that isn’t in the state code. We’re talking misdemeanors here. Throwing trash on the ground is a state misdemeanor. Do you want that to go on your record? I think it’s great that we have a code that informs the citizens when they are wrong and let it be adjudicated without hitting individual’s records,” Code Enforcement Officer Graham stated.
“What we do, most of the time, is try to make contact with the individual involved so that the issue can be resolved instead of a citation or warning being issued,” Code Enforcement Officer Morris stated.
Singletary went on to commend the code enforcement officers for their superb job performance with not only handling trash-related issues, but also for other jobs performed with building inspections and permits, trash violations on both public and private properties, assisting with the county’s timber ordinance, as well as responding to calls regarding nuisance animals and noise violations.
“Our wheels for trash are always spinning and it’s a huge collaboration that has to be handled case by case, which is what Judge Braddy does,” stated Singletary.
Codes are the parameters a governing body places on what may be done and how it may be done within its jurisdiction. Cities and counties derive their authority to write and enforce code from the state constitution, their subsequent municipal charger, and statutes established by the state legislature; the charter outlines the authority of elected officials to manage affairs within the community through its code.
Emanuel County Code Enforcement “Mission Statement”
The mission of the Code Enforcement Department is to enforce the county codes, to promote, protect, and improve the health, safety and welfare of the citizens and visitors of Emanuel County. The Emanuel County Code is listed on the county website and can be located by visiting https://library.municode.com/ga/emanuel_county/codes/code_of_ordinances. To report violations of Emanuel County’s code, contact should be made with the Code Enforcement Office, Magistrate Office, or County Commissioners Office.