MILAM COUNTY, TEXAS — Milam County has worked hard to stop illegal dumping for the last two years, now they are increasing their efforts.
For some, illegal dumping is a bad habit and it can come with some pretty hefty penalties, and Milam County leaders say they’ve had enough.
"We want the county to be a nice, clean place," Milam County Judge Steve Young said. "We want to be in compliance with the law and if the property is not in compliance with the law, then we have to do something about it," Judge Young added.
County Judge Steve Young says they currently have 10 cases of illegal dumping pending in court.
On top of charges, he says it is also a fine of up to $200 a day for those who are not in compliance.
"We can put people in jail for felonies. In fact, we just had one felony conviction for illegal dumping last month and we can take control of one's property and we can sell the property to recover our money. Now, I don't want to do that. That's not what we are about. I don't want to have to do that, but if somebody blows us off and says 'hey man, I'm not going to do it' then I'm going to have to do something about it," he added.
Judge Young is talking about trash, tires, and rubbish. This weekend, the county provided residents a legal way to get rid of excess tires.
Saturday, Milam County held their first tire clean-up day in almost two years and they collected nearly 10,000 tires.
"A lot of people appreciated that we had it. It helped them clean up their yard. It helped clean up Milam County. It was really a great day," Art Neal, County Commissioner, Precinct 3 in Milam County said. "The tires came from everywhere. I didn't realize there were this many tires in Milam County," he added.
"The tires will be chopped up into 1-inch squares and will be burned for fuel and then the wire in the tires will be used for rebar. So, it's pretty cool," Judge Young said.
The trash isn't just noticed by county leaders, but by born and bred residents, who say it's the worst it's been... ever.
"It's basically the worst I have seen in areas. When I grew up here you didn't have that kind of dumping. People bringing tires in and dumping them. We have even seen them (people) hide their tires in old run-down mobile homes," Dennis Brooks, a Milam County resident said.
The county has now installed a number of surveillance cameras so they can monitor trouble spots.
"So we can catch them.... so we are going to have proof of who it is and then we are going to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law," he added.
Judge Young says they haven't caught anyone participating in any illegal dumping on video, just yet, but he also shares he did publicize the new initiative throughout the county.
"I would rather people not do it. I am not in the business of trying to put people in jail. Since we have announced that we have done it, we haven't had anyone do any dumping that we have caught on video," He said. "When there is some activity on the camera, I get a notice on my phone and I can look and see what's going on," he added.
But Judge Young says even with a little extra technology serving as extra eyes for the county, everyone still needs to do their part.
"I am so proud that the community is interested in getting this place cleaned up. I can't do this all by myself and thankfully, we have lots of help," Judge Young added.
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