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Sumter seeks city litter control officer

BY SHELBIE GOULDING shelbie@theitem.com
Posted 2/7/20

Throughout Sumter County, trash can be found off almost every highway, roadway and back road, giving an unappealing sight to the town many call home.

For two years, the City of Sumter has made an initiative to clean up the city streets through …

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Sumter seeks city litter control officer

Posted

Throughout Sumter County, trash can be found off almost every highway, roadway and back road, giving an unappealing sight to the town many call home.

For two years, the City of Sumter has made an initiative to clean up the city streets through the help of community organizations, neighborhood associations and cleanup events.

Recently, the city took an even bigger step and created a litter control officer position to not only clean up the streets, but also to investigate littering, enforce South Carolina's litter laws and educate the community.

"We heard a number of people say that we may be losing businesses because of the litter on our roads," Councilman Steve Corley said. "I think cleanliness is a big part in making our community inviting."

Corley said he thinks a clean environment is a safe environment and that litter is "discouraging" to any community. He, along with local Realtor Scott Burkett, Councilman Charles Edens and many more, united to make this litter control officer position possible and push for a cleaner Sumter while following the South Carolina Code of Laws.

Title 16 Section 16-11-700 of the S.C. Code of Laws says dumping litter on private or public property is prohibited and can result in penalties.

A person, from a vehicle or otherwise, may not dump or otherwise dispose of litter or other solid waste, including cigarette butts and cigarette component litter, upon waters or public or private property in the state.

The fine for littering an amount not more than 15 pounds in an area or facility not intended for public disposal is between $50 and $150. With this fine, the court may direct the substitution of payment to litter-gathering labor or other forms of community service.

A person who litters an amount exceeding 15 pounds, but not exceeding 500 pounds, on any public or private property or waters can be charged with illegal dumping of litter and is guilty of a misdemeanor. The individual will also be fined between $200 and $500 or imprisoned for about 30 days. In addition, the court shall require the violator to complete 16 hours of litter-gathering labor or perform other community service.

The litter control officer will be responsible for investigating litter complaints and manually collecting trash, tires, furniture and all types of litter left on city and county roadsides, medians and right-of-ways.

City Manager Deron McCormick said this position is meant to have someone on a daily basis following the litter initiative.

"That could be coordinating education about it, that can be recognizing where there's problem areas, and then, in those cases, there's also illegal dumping, where they would be able to go through it, investigate who's doing it and then take it to court," McCormick said.

McCormick said officials are trying to work in conjunction with the city and county to have officers in both jurisdictions to keep both the City of Sumter and Sumter County trash free.

"We're never going to be 100% clean, but I hope we will," Corley said. "It's such a big step, and I believe that good changes are always slow changes. I'm in this for the long haul."

Minimum qualifications for the job include having a high school diploma or GED, being a certified Class III Officer or being able to attain the certification within one year from hire date and having a valid S.C. driver's license.

To apply for the litter control officer position, mail a resume, a cover letter and the application from www.sumtersc.gov/hr/positions to City of Sumter Human Resources, 21 N. Main St.