Business Owners Upset About Roadside Garbage

Every fall, the city of Moss Point foots the bill for its "Fall-de-Rah" decorations downtown. But business owner Shelli Weaver says she's more concerned with the garbage that normally decorates her curb.

"It's discouraging. When we pay taxes, we pay our taxes on time, and they're high, it should be enough to maintain our area," Business Owner Shelli Weaver says.

But city leaders say the answer isn't as simple as some people may think. And that these two issues aren't even related.

"The one things people have to remember is any of the money spent on Fall-de-Rah, by state law, can only be spent on economic development. It can not be spent on trash collection or paving roads," Alderman-at-Large Jonn McKinney said.

Thousands of dollars are allocated for decorating every year, but McKinney says the city never spends more than one or two thousand dollars. That's because many of the decorations are donated.

As for the garbage, McKinney admits the city is responsible for picking up major items like mattresses and sofas thrown on the streets. But he says they also need help from the public.

"Sure, the city has a responsibility for doing all they can, but I think the citizens also have a responsibility to do what they can. We're in a financial crisis and we're trying to do all we can without raising taxes," McKinney said.

But business owners say a cleaner city could attract more business, and more tax dollars.

"It's embarrassing to me as a business owner, not just a taxpayer, when I'm entertaining clients from out-of-state, and they have to drive down this street past mattresses, garbage, and dumpsters that are overflowing. It's very embarrassing," Weaver said.

Weaver says she just hopes the city will get its business in order, so she can keep her business in Moss Point.

We tried to contact Mayor Frank Lynn and the city's economic development, but neither person returned our calls.

by Claire Nelson