Byrnes Mill trash

Trash bags filled with litter the Byrnes Mill Public Works Department picked up in a single day. 

The Byrnes Mill Police and Public Works departments have teamed up to create an anti-littering campaign to reduce the amount of trash left scattered around the city and its roads.

Police Chief Frank T. Selvaggio said the program is named “Beauty in the Mill” and was kicked off last month.

Selvaggio said after he learned about how much time Public Works employees were spending picking up trash each week, he and Public Works Director Bob Schmidt created the campaign.

“There were times it was taking (Public Works) up to 20 hours a week picking up trash, and (Schmidt) was asking me if there was any way to solve this problem,” Selvaggio said. “So, he and I kind of put our heads together and put a little something together.”

Schmidt said Public Works employees pick up trash at least two or three days a week.

“We’ve been finding cups standing up on the yellow line; you know that’s done on purpose,” he said. “That’s not just thrown out the window; somebody is actually stopping and setting it up.”

Schmidt said Public Works employees also find a lot of fast food wrappers, beer cans, soda cans and other items littering the city.

Selvaggio said information about the anti-littering campaign has been posted on the Police Department’s Facebook page and city website. He said information about the program was included in the city’s spring newsletter, which was mailed to every resident.

Selvaggio said he and Schmidt plan to speak with the Board of Alderpersons about adding trash cans and anti-littering signs around the city.

He said he had no cost estimate for the trash cans or signs.

Selvaggio also said if a police officer sees a person throw trash out in the city, the offender most likely will receive a ticket for littering, which is a misdemeanor with a fine up to $500.

Since the start of the program, however, no littering tickets had been issued, Selvaggio said April 8.

He said it’s important to raise public awareness about the littering problem in Byrnes Mill.

“This is a very nice place out here, and one of the first things visitors or other people notice about a town is the trash on the side of the road,” he said. “It just kind of takes away from the aesthetics of the city.”

He said he believes home values will increase with less trash on roadways.

“People coming in to look at houses are going to be less likely to buy a house in neighborhoods where the streets are all littered up,” he said.

Selvaggio said less litter will also help the city save money because Public Work employees will be able to focus on other projects.

He said another reason to reduce the amount of litter in the city is to keep it out of the city’s waterways and to protect wildlife.