Judge Dempsey Says Illegal Dumping Is Not A "Huge Issue" - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/4/05-Smith County

Judge Dempsey Says Illegal Dumping Is Not A "Huge Issue"

For the past five years, Jackie Turner has driven down CR 427 to take her three kids to school. She says it's never been a beautiful sight. Sometimes, Turner says she has to swerve so she doesn't hit a bag of garbage in the road.

"That's sick," she said, pointing to a pile of trash.

Turner and her father, Gary McGill, a former candidate for county commissioner, wondered what else was dumped just a few steps beyond the pavement.

"There's no telling what kind of bones those are there," McGill said.

There was also empty boxes from McDonald's, shotgun shells, and old furniture. Less visible is a recently discarded trash bag with a dead dog inside. McGill also found a bottle of propane fuel that says it's flammable and should not be in direct sunlight.

"It's pitiful," he said. "People don't have pride for their country anymore."

McGill and Turner say someone used a pile of wood to block off the entrance to the wooded area. But over the past several years, it's been moved out of the way multiple times.

"I've seen it cleaned up and dirty again, cleaned up and dirty again," McGill said.

He says the county commissioners need a better way to keep trash off county roads.

"You need to announce it to the county that hey, we're going to put cameras on these roads where the dumping is," he said. "And we're going to catch you and we're going to fine you."

We pitched that idea to Smith County Judge Becky Dempsey today. She said the county just doesn't have enough money for that kind of effort. Dempsey says the county relies on a grant to fund the litter abatement program, which is run by only one person.

"When I drive on county roads, I don't see litter and trash and dumps everywhere I drive," Dempsey said. "So while it may be a big issue to those that are out there that are seeing it on a daily basis, I don't think that it's such a huge issue countywide."

McGill and Turner say the county might see it as a bigger issue, if officials had to drive down the same road they do.

If you've reported illegal dumping or littering to your city or county official, and no one's done anything about it, let us know. Click on the "Local News" link. There, under the title "Illegal Dumping," you can tell us where else someone is "Trashing East Texas."

Julie Tam, reporting.

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