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Jefferson County looks to triple amount of litter crews, use state inmates to help

Trash on road in Jefferson County

Jefferson County litter crews can't keep up with the amount of people tossing their trash out of their car windows.

Now there’s has a plan to triple the amount of litter crews working. It would save money by using state inmates for the work.

Forestdale is one part of the county where people say the extra hands would go a long way.

“Litter is an everyday thing living here,” said Albert Coleman. “You get up in the morning and walk to your mailbox, get ready to do your yard, you’ve got to move litter spread across here.”

Coleman takes pride in his Forestdale yard.

“I retired to keep myself active,” said Coleman. “But here's my thing- I like working in the yard. Look around you see my trees, crepe myrtles, plants and all of it.”

He never thought picking up litter would become part of that activity.

“When I have to get out here and cut, got to go sweep up out there first before I can get started,” said Coleman.

It's the same situation at Hillview Baptist Church.

Steve Phillips is custodian. He says he’s constantly picking up trash like beer cans and chip bags from the church’s front yard.

“We're not a very rich community,” said Coleman. “We're not affluent and this type of thing, but we're people. We're not animals that just live like it doesn't matter so it is discouraging and I don't really know what to do about it.”

In the past year, Jefferson County litter crews picked up 118 tons of litter. Now, the plan is to go from two litter crews to six litter crews by October.

The county is considering an agreement with the Alabama Department of Corrections to have inmates help pick up the trash.

The County would pay the state $15 per inmate, per day for the work. In all, the move would save the county $150,000 annually, while tripling the amount of crews.

“If this is a new project, it will save us a lot,” said Coleman.

Phillips supports that plan, but also urges his neighbors to take responsibility.

“Just put it in your trash bag, when you get home- put it in the trash and that would solve it,” said Phillips.

The Jefferson County Commission is expected to vote on the plan within the next month.

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