Gautier mayor takes on litter bugs dirtying the city

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Mayor Tommy Fortenberry is fed up with people using Gautier as a dumping ground and he's doing something about it. He has now teamed up with police to take on these litter bugs.

Fortenberry said part of Gautier-Vancleave road is a prime example of the litter problem.

"You see the plastic bottles, you see the beer bottles, if you look right here they actually empted their ash tray here," Fortenberry said as he pointed to the trash. "Ya know, if you are going to empty your ash tray, empty it at your own house."

He said another problem spot is nearby on Frontage Road.

"Here you have a sign that said don't be a litter bug, but look what you see just before the sign."

The mayor was so upset he even began picking up some of the trash.

"A lot of times when I am cleaning up, I look for names and addresses. If I can find that especially in a garbage that has been left on the side of the road, I will bag it up, and set it on their porch, and ring their door bell and say, I believe this belongs to you."

The mayor said he has to tackle the litter problem now because litter looks bad, it's bad for the environment and its costly.

"Before we can cut this grass, we have to hire people; we have people that work for public works. They have to come pick up litter before they cut it," Fortenberry said. "So if you want to save the city money, quit littering."

Folks in the community can also help by just reporting the litter bugs. Fortenberry said if you see people dumping trash illegally, just write their license plate number down and call the police."

"As a police officer, it is hard for us to catch people in the act because when they see white car with blue lights coming, everyone acts perfect," Gautier Police officer Diane Schmid said.

Police officer Diane Schmid said she and fellow officers will still be keeping a closer eye out for those throwing trash on the streets.

"The fine in Gautier for littering is $300 for littering with a $600 bond."

The mayor and police are confident these small steps will make a big difference in creating a cleaner Gautier.

Fortenberry said he recently traveled to several business owners around town, encouraging them to also help clean up trash around their stores and shops.

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