Trash dumping a big problem
“We’ve got a problem,” Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt said. “It’s not a small problem.”
It was multiple problems actually, lumped together at the Marion County Commission meeting under the heading of nuisance.
Schmidt and Road and Bridge Superintendent Randy Crawford both said that trash along county roadways has become an issue. Crawford directed Schmidt’s crew to 290th Road where they spent all Thursday removing items like piles of tires, refrigerators, and even toilets.
The commission’s preferred solution to this problem is offering residents a reward for turning in their trash dumping brethren. The cash sum was originally valued at $50 before Commission Chairman Randy Dallke suggested a $500 reward if a resident could provide evidence.
“Maybe there’s DNA we can get off of it,” County Attorney Susan Robson jokingly said of the littered toilet.
Commissioners honestly considered an award because dumping trash is very difficult to police. Sheriff Robert Craft said his department has 900 square miles of road to patrol. Catching someone in the act is almost impossible on the sparsely populated county roads where dumping trash is in vogue.
“I don’t see any way to prevent this,” Commissioner Roger Fleming said.
The commissioners also discussed signs being stolen, knocked down, or shot. The severity of these infractions ranged from the annoyance of trying to find Mustang Road when no road sign is up — Mustang is one of the more commonly stolen road signs — to risking drivers’ lives by stealing a stop sign.
One occurrence of this is a pilfered “Dip” sign near Centre schools.
“You hit that at 30 or 40 miles per hour, you’ll end up in Chase County,” Commissioner Dan Holub said.
In seriousness, Robson said she would prosecute these offenders sign stealers and damagers under the full extent of the law. It would be filed under criminal damage to property, possibly resulting in six months in jail or a $1,000 to $1,500 fine.
“It’s very dangerous and expensive,” Robson said.