Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

June 12, 2013

Mercer commission to seek litter control officer

PRINCETON — Mercer County’s commissioners plan to start advertising for a county litter control officer when the county has enough money saved to hire one and provide a vehicle.

County residents who contact commissioners are often having problems with litter and illegal dumping, said County Commission President Mike Vinciguerra. To address these problems, the county will seek an officer devoted to the issue.

“Mercer County does not have a zoning ordinance, but a litter control officer could enforce the state codes,” Vinciguerra said. “They could go and do that. People have a lot of legitimate complaints about litter. They really do.”

A reallocation of county funds would pay for a litter officer. The county commissioners voted unanimously during their May meeting to discontinue providing 15 percent of the county’s motel-hotel tax revenues to the Southern West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau. Vinciguerra said the 15 percent amounts to $53,000 a year. The commission felt it could be used for litter control and beautification efforts.

The commission continues to give 50 percent of county hotel-motel tax revenues to the Mercer County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Vinciguerra said. The CVB is also receiving 15 percent of the tax at this time; 90 days remained in May on the contract with the county.

Commissioner Gene Buckner said the search for a litter control officer could begin after July. The commission will then begin advertising for applicants.

“We’ll have to accumulate a bit of money to make sure we can afford to pay a person to do the job,” Vinciguerra said. The county will also need to provide a vehicle.

Buckner said the exact qualifications the county will seek in applicants have not yet been set. Vinciguerra added there are some ideas about the sort of person the county wants for the job.

“The person would have to be real energetic, a self-motivator, sort of a like a sales person where they can get out on their own,” Vinciguerra said. “We don’t need somebody we have to bring by the courthouse and tell them to get out and go to work. We need them to get up and go to work.”

The litter control officer will be a county employee who could issue citations, Vinciguerra said. A successful applicant will have to attend a school conducted by the state Department of Natural Resources for training.

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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