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MDOT donates truck for anti-litter campaign

A Mississippi Department of Transportation anti-litter programconducted by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department is likely tobe expanded after the state agency gave a second truck to thedepartment Wednesday.

“I’m very proud to participate in this program. It’s a greatbenefit to this county,” said Sheriff Wiley Calcote.

Under MDOT’s Inmate Litter Removal Program, the statetransportation agency teams with local law enforcement to cleanlitter off the state highways.

“There is no cost to the county,” Calcote said. “The inmatesupervisor is paid by MDOT. The only cost we have is that we haveto keep the vehicle up.”

The sheriff began participating in the program in March. Theaddition of a second truck will allow the department to oversee twolitter removal crews comprised of inmates at the Lincoln CountyJail.

“We’ll get the paperwork done and get a second crew started assoon as we can,” he said. “Unfortunately, we have more trash on theside of the road than one crew can handle.”

Barbara Mercier, MDOT district program specialist, said theprogram is a cost-effective way to remove litter.

“We don’t have the manpower to do this,” she said. “It’s themost cost-effective program we have out there. MDOT puts more than$2 million annually into anti-litter programs.”

Inmates, however, have the time to do the work and often enjoythe opportunity to leave their cramped cells, even if it meanswalking along a road in high heat picking up trash left bydiscourteous travelers, she said.

“Most departments don’t have a budget where they can afford avehicle, and without a vehicle you can’t participate,” she said.”So this gives us a viable way to utilize vehicles that are phasedout of the fleet.”

The MDOT trucks are sold to a sheriff’s department for $1 foruse in the program, she said.

The inmate litter crew, under the supervision of Deputy JoeDouglas, has removed 3,126 bags of litter, tires and other debrisalong state highways in Lincoln County from March through Septemberof this year, Mercier said.

“Ridding our state of litter is a high priority for theMississippi Department of Transportation and me personally,” saidCommissioner Wayne Brown in a news release. “The leaders of LincolnCounty are to be commended for the part they play in the battleagainst litter.”