The Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors voted Monday to hire a solid waste enforcement officer as part of an effort to stop illegal dumping.
County Road Manager Rush Mayatt said last week that some people have been abusing designated dumping sites by digging through dumps and piling up trash after hours, despite posted regulations.
The officer will patrol the county’s designated sites, investigate illegal dumping, conduct surveillance and write tickets, according to Chris Lafferty, the county administrator.
“The board is going to approve an ordinance in the coming months adopting fines and procedures for solid waste in addition to reinforcing state statute that is already in place for illegal dumping,” he said.
Mayatt said he found a dead dog at one of the county’s designated dumping sites and last month someone discovered a fire in the Dumpster at a county facility on North Lakeland Drive.
Lafferty said the county has also had problems with people leaving trash along county roads, including Knox Road and Fish Lodge Road.
“There’s been a culture of people just dumping their trash,” Lafferty said. “As you talk to economic developers, trash on streets is always a big topic and a company doesn’t want to relocate somewhere where there’s just garbage everywhere, so we’re trying to take care of that.”
The officer’s salary will be covered by a grant from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and the county’s general fund, Lafferty said.
He is scheduled to start work on Oct. 21.
Fencing in mall site
The board also voted Monday to approve the selection of Precision Fence, LLC to build a fence around the old Village Fair Mall for $26,522.81.
Supervisors raised concerns in August about unwanted visitors wandering on the vacant property and potentially getting hurt.
District 1 Supervisor Jonathan Wells said last month that there are plans to build a new county courthouse on the site and he hoped to see the old mall demolished within the next year.
The board also voted to approve the start of advertising for bids for companies to remove asbestos at the mall before its demolition.
Animal control center
Construction of a new county animal control center is expected to begin in the next month, Lafferty said.
Supervisors voted Monday to formalize a contract with Cooper Concrete Construction, LLC for construction of the new center.
Lafferty said the center will be located behind Marion Town Hall, but it’s not clear when it will open.
“The way that Lauderdale County does their animal control is progressively improving to the point to where we need a larger and more modern center,” he said.
Rocky Rockette, the county's animal control director, said the current center on Cooper Avenue has taken in 3,000 to 4,000 animals in previous years and is trying to lower its euthanasia rate.
“We’re trying to change what we do here. We want to be able to find new homes or return animals back to their proper owners,” he said.
Unlike the current facility, which is used by both the city of Meridian and Lauderdale County, the new center will be a county space, Rockette said.
“The added space is needed to be able to do what we need to do,” he said.