Rome and Floyd County officials named the leaders of a new litter and blight task force Tuesday and are seeking citizen volunteers.
The plan is to operate much like the SPLOST advisory committees, with elected officials being guided by the task force recommendations.
“It needs to be citizen-driven, not government-driven,” said County Commissioner Wright Bagby.
Key stakeholders are expected to come from the healthcare, education, real estate, economic development, public relations and law enforcement sectors.
“The goal is to take interested community members,” City Manager Sammy Rich said.
The city/county Joint Services Committee chose David Mathis to chair the task force and Ralph Davis as vice chair.
Mathis — “One of our better citizen volunteers,” Bagby said — grew up in Lindale and now lives in Rome. That gives him a broad perspective, committee members agreed. Davis, another dependable volunteer, is plugged into South Rome and other “challenged communities,” Mayor Bill Collins said.
“We’ve got to find someone from the Latino community to buy into this, too,” Collins added.
County Clerk Erin Elrod and Katie Kiser, executive assistant to the city manager, will be posting the call for volunteers on the city and county social media accounts. They’ll make available the applications used for the numerous citizen boards.
Bagby said they’d likely add six more appointees, three each from the city and county. But the task force would be free to set up subcommittees once it ramps up.
The general goal is to come up with programs to educate the public and instill a sense of community pride, he said.
“This is not just about litter, it’s about our image,” Bagby said. “It’s about blight and litter.”
While the committee emphasized their plans to let task force members decide their direction, Rome and Floyd County commissioners have been engaged and enthusiastic about the initiative during discussions that started in April. Bagby said City Commissioner Sundai Stevenson’s suggestion of a litter badge for local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops is a good one.
“A Scouting merit badge is a perfect idea. That starts a generational change,” City Commissioner Randy Quick agreed.
Emma Wells, program coordinator for Keep Rome Floyd Beautiful, is expected to serve as the task force’s support staff.
The Joint Services Committee is made up of the heads of the city and county commissions, the city and county managers and the four leaders’ seconds. County Commission Chair Scotty Hancock hailed the steps taken Tuesday, saying he’s eager to launch new initiatives to clean up the county.