Newton County Sheriff’s Deputies were on site at the McGiboney Road Convenience Center Monday morning after residents dumped their trash outside the gates and into the road, despite notifications that the convenience centers, also known as Neighborhood Recycling Centers, would be closed for the holidays, closing at noon on Thursday, Dec. 24 and reopening Monday, Dec. 28, at 9 a.m.
According to Sgt. Cortney Morrison with the NCSO, directed traffic on McGiboney Road around public work trucks, working to clean up the trash bags dumped at the gate and spilling into the street.
Jody B. Nolan, Emergency Management Agency Director of Covington-Newton County, said both McGiboney and Oak Hill Road had trash piled outside the gates. He said he had to pull public works staff off evaluating flood damaged roads and bridges in the county to help clean up the trash left by residents.
That, he said, “hampered public works operations due to the irresponsibility of the people who did that.”
County Engineer Aaron Wadley said he had driven around to look at the centers late Sunday night. He did not see any trash piled at the gates then, he said.
Commissioner Nancy Schulz, District 3, said she had also checked out the three convenience centers in her district – Stone Road, Cook Road and Dial Mill Road – and said there wasn’t any trash outside those centers.
“This morning, those centers were opened at 9 a.m.,” she said. “I know, by 11:30 a.m., McGiboney Road was cleaned up.”
Wadley said he was proud of the convenience center staff as well as other county departments, including public works and code enforcement staff. “They were on it,” he said. They issued citations for breaking ordinances. “All hands cleared the litter away very quickly.”
Citations are issued after county staff go through the garbage and determine the name of the owners of the trash dumped outside of the gates. Fines vary, but usually start around $250 plus court costs.
Copies of the county ordinance on dumping trash are posted outside the gates of the recycling centers, Wadley said. “I was disappointed that it happened. Departmental workers deserved a holiday, and notices were advertised at least a week prior to closing.”
Schulz said she thought that McGiboney Road’s location in a more heavily populated area of the county may have contributed to the trash being dumped outside gates. She also thought that there often seemed to be a lot of out of county tags using that center.
Generally, the McGiboney Road recycling center is the only site where trash is dumped outside the gates when the centers are closed. This year, over five-and-one-half-tons of trash where picked up from the McGibondey Road center and taken to the landfill.