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Monticello plans a cleanup day — Mayor hopes to spread environmental awareness March 17

Martha Watts wants your waste.

The Monticello mayor told the Board of Aldermen at a recent meeting about the city-sponsored “Household Hazardous Waste Cleanup Day” to be held from 8 a.m. to noon March 17 behind the Lawrence County Sportsplex.

The initiative is designed to help the public dispose of any non-organic, chemical and electrical waste. Watts encourages locals to drop off any excess paint, pesticides, propane cylinders, batteries, electronics and other items unfit for the county landfill.

Monticello plans to eliminate all collected hazardous waste in a safe and environmentally friendly way. Watts said she hopes the initiative will serve to educate the public on what should and should not be thrown away in a trash can.

The city applied for a state cleanup grant last fall, and the money was formally awarded in November. With funding in place, town officials are ready to proceed with the area cleanup.

Monticello has recruited several local agencies and volunteers to help with the initiative. The state has promised to match any cleanup-related services “in kind,” so Watts does not foresee the project costing the city much money.

“There is a chance that we might have to write a check at the end of the day, but we don’t anticipate that,” she said.

After a brief discussion, the board also elected to increase the city’s animal pickup fees. Watts said larger fines should help deter pet owners from letting their animals roam city streets unsupervised.

Monticello will now charge pet guardians a first offense fee of $30 when the city dogcatcher seizes a lost animal. A second offense will cost $50, and a third offense will require an $80 fine.

Watts said the city does not have an especially-widespread problem with strays, but most of the pets picked up by animal control belong to repeat offenders.

At a previous meeting, the board considered drafting a resolution in opposition to the Jackson One Lake flood control project.

The Mississippi House of Representatives recently approved a $50 million bond to fund the project, which would further dam the Pearl River north of Lawrence County. The measure now awaits approval from the Senate.

If it passes both houses of the Legislature and is signed by the governor, the project could have far-reaching effects on Monticello, she said.

The Board of Aldermen ultimately decided to wait before passing a resolution, pending further discussion and investigation.