LEXINGTON, Ky. (3/16/13) – Mayor Jim Gray today took aim at litter in Lexington, targeting everything from the smallest cigarette butt to the largest plastic bottle.
“We live in a Great American City surrounded by some of the most beautiful countryside in the world,” Gray said. “Let’s pick up the trash on our streets and sidewalks. Let’s keep the trash out of our streams. Pick it up, Lexington!”
Joined by members of the Keep Lexington Beautiful Commission, the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, the Division of Police, and Councilmember Peggy Henson, Gray urged every citizen to join the campaign.
First, we’re urging citizens to follow the commission’s advice, the Mayor said. “Pick it up, Lexington … bend over and pick up a piece of litter today. Keep it off our sidewalks and streets and out of our streams,” Gray said.
Patricia Knight, Commission chair, said the volunteer group is planning and coordinating spring Great American Cleanup events. “With spring approaching, now is the time for all of us to work together to restore Lexington’s picturesque landscape,” she said. “We are blessed with an abundance of natural beauty, but unfortunately that beauty is damaged by unsightly litter.”
Last year, the commission organized about 80 spring clean-ups involving 2000 people. The events provide the best opportunity for citizens, schools, churches, businesses and other organizations to undertake litter cleanup projects in neighborhoods, on city streets, in parks and natural areas, or around schools.
Second, citizens can report when litter is thrown from vehicles through an on-line form at www.lexingtonky.gov/litterreport. The information will be forwarded to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, which will send a letter to the vehicle’s owner.
“We at the Office of Sheriff are always looking for ways to strengthen our partnerships and this is one more way to do so,” said Sheriff Kathy Witt. “I am pleased that members of the community will have an avenue for reporting those that they see litter."
Citizens can also report a variety of issues, including littering, through a free App for I-Phones (search Lexington 311 at the App Store).
In addition to citizen involvement, city divisions are working together to attack litter, Gray said.
“A cooperative effort among the divisions of Community Corrections, Streets and Roads and Waste Management will provide supervised inmates to help remove litter from city streets,” the Mayor said.
Lexington’s Division of Police also has an important new tool in the anti-litter campaign. Under a change in state law sought by the Keep Lexington Beautiful Commission last year, police officers can now issue a civil littering citation. A civil citation carries penalties like criminal citations, but cases are handled administratively, not adding to the docket of district court.
“The state criminal statute only provided officers the ability to cite under very specific circumstances,” Police Lt. Mark Brand said. “Now, we have a broad range of littering activities that we can cite for. However, I want to emphasize, our goal is not to write tickets, but to provide a clean and safe environment for Lexington citizens and visitors to enjoy.”
For more information on how you or your organization can become involved with the Great American Cleanup, Keep Lexington Beautiful or other issues related to littering call Lexcall at 3-1-1 or 425-2255, or go to www.keeplexingtonbeautiful.com.
Information provided by Susan Straub
Photo provided by SurfKY Graphics
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