A Supervisor’s job is certainly one that requires many important decisions on high profile issues such as land use, open space conservation, school funding and tax rates, but it also falls on a Supervisor to deal with the smaller issues. Often these are the issues that the average citizen only notices when they are not being handled properly. Even though these issues often get overlooked, they can affect the quality of life significantly. Litter is one of these issues.
Anyone who regularly drives Stafford’s* roads may have noticed a marked difference in the amount of litter on our streets as compared to only two years ago. Back then, if you happened to live around the Stafford Landfill, you would have noticed that the problem was even more pronounced there than it was in the rest of our County. Today, across our whole County, you will notice a drastic change from only a few years ago. Keeping Stafford’s streets clean has been a priority for Paul Milde
When Paul Milde took office in January 2006, as the Aquia District Supervisor, he also assumed the traditional role as a member of The Rappahannock Regional Solid Waste Management Board (R-Board). This tradition stems from the fact that the landfill is located in the Aquia District. It is from this position that Paul spearheaded the effort to change the way in which our litter problem was being handled. It was obvious that much of the litter on our streets, although not all of it, was a direct result of debris falling off vehicles headed to our landfill; yet very little effort or resources were being directed to the problem from the R-Board or any other source. With support from the rest of the R-Board, Paul officially made litter the responsibility of the R-Board, thus making available R-Board resources to help fix the problem. It wasn’t just money that was needed but creative solutions, a change in mindset and a multi-pronged approach.
From 2006 to 2008, several programs were added or expanded in an attempt to take control of our litter problem. We have significantly increased the labor force picking up litter through prisoner programs, juvenile community service programs and paid staff. We have also posted signs warning potential litter bugs that they will be fined $2,500 if they allow trash to fall from their vehicles. These efforts have translated into cleaner roadways. Before these efforts, you couldn’t find a stretch of road, especially near the landfill, without litter. Litter is now the exception, not the rule. Litter begets more litter.
*Interstate 95 and the interchanges fall under the purview of the State and Federal government and as such the responsibility for keeping them clean falls on others.
For a more detailed litter report from the Landfill Superintendent, Andrew J. Mikel, click here