PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - The initiative has a simple name: Pitch in Pascagoula. But it comes with a serious message.
Newly elected Pascagoula Mayor Dane Maxwell is serious about trash. That's why he and several members of the city council spent an hour Wednesday morning picking up trash at I. G. Levy Park. They hope the effort is contagious.
"If they see us involved in keeping our community litter free, and in good shape, I think it will spur others to do the same," Council Member Matt Parker said.
It's not just a matter of pride, it's a matter of money for City Manager Mike Mangum.
"We're looking at economic development and trying to bring people into the city and certainly to do that, we need a city that looks good," Mangum said.
During the recent city elections, trash cleanup was at the top of the to-do list for Council Member Stephen Burrow.
"This was an issue that I heard predominately throughout the campaign as I was walking the neighborhoods that Pascagoula, in the past few years, has sort of let that fall by the wayside," Burrow explained.
Elected officials aren't just picking up and asking city employees to do the same thing around their departments, they're also doing something that may involve the city's police department.
"They're going to do their part as enforcing the regulations and that's something that I think they're going to focus on and start aggressively approaching," Mayor Dane Maxwell said.
The mayor added that tougher anti-litter laws could also be on the way.
"We're going to go in and update these ordinances and make it a good strong signal that if you're littering in Pascagoula, you're going to pay the price."
Mayor Maxwell said he and the council members plan on doing these clean-ups once a month in various areas of the city. The next stop will probably be Market Street.