Rome City Commissioner Bill Collins indicates he wants to wage a war against littering in a bid to improve the attractiveness of the city.

Collins brought Rome Public Works Director Chris Jenkins to the Rome Community Development Services Committee on Wednesday to talk specifically about the litter problem.

Jenkins said cleanup crews spent more than 5,500 man-hours picking up more than 7,300 33-gallon bags of litter in 2016.

In one day crews picked up 89 bags of litter along the Maple Street corridor, then went back 10 days later and picked up another 60 bags, Jenkins said.

He said it would be nice to see improved enforcement of litter laws.

James Martin, the assistant director of the Rome-Floyd Building Inspection Department, said he’s only got two code enforcement officers for the entire county.

“The (state) law, if it is enforced, is a pretty strict law,” Martin said.

Keep Rome Floyd Beautiful Director Mary Hardin Thornton explained the three-pronged campaign against litter includes education, eradication and enforcement.

“I just applied for a litter enforcement workshop grant,” Thornton said.

Late last year, city staff spent considerable time trying to develop an application that neighborhood groups would fill out to describe needs in their community and ways residents felt the city could help with a special 90-day focus in their community.

Also on Wednesday, the committee discussed putting the brakes on the Neighborhood Enhancement Program run by the city the past two years.

The NEP was developed in 2015 as a way to improve various neighborhoods by enhancing public safety, litter control and trash management.

Collins asked staff to try to devise a way to get communities to buy into the program up front and become proactive in a cleanup effort themselves before city personnel are allocated to the area.

He suggested his own neighborhood, Summerville Park, could become the first community to face a code enforcement blitz to test the new concept.

Assistant City Manager Patrick Eidson also said the city might consider a shorter time period than 90-days for the NEP program.

He said staff would come back to the March 20 committee meeting with an outline for a new approach to the NEP.

Thornton told the committee Rome would be receiving a Sterling Award from the Arbor Day Foundation on Feb. 17.

Sterling communities, there are only ten in Georgia, the nearest being Dalton, are regarded as leaders in community forestry and are often looked upon as innovators. The award is named for J. Sterling Morton, who founded Arbor Day in 1872.

A special ceremony is planned for Bailey Park, at the base of the city’s iconic Clock Tower. Three Yoshino cherry trees will be planted as part of the celebration.

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