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Editor/Consulting Writer

The St. Landry Parish and Solid Waste Commission are considering the establishment of a litter hotline, a citizens’ task force and tightening the existing ordinance penalties in order to prevent an increase in unwanted trash dumping.

“We want to encourage the public to become involved. We would like them along with all of us to become more pro-active,” said council member Faltery Jolivette, who suggested during a Wednesday night Public Works Committee that elevating the fine for illegal littering to as much as $1,500.

“I think we also need to put more teeth into the enforcement area in order to get this parish cleaned up the way that it needs to be,” said council member Ken Marks.

The Parish Council and Richard LeBouef, executive director of the St. Landry Parish solid waste landfill, have discussed since January ways to decrease parish wide littering.

Council members began discussing the illegal dumping problem in St. Landry after David Beaugh questioned during a committee meeting, whether the Council had the authority to help stop littering parish wide.

Lebouef noted again Wednesday night that the Solid Waste Commission has provided money for litter abatement crews supervised by the Sheriff’s Department as well as paying for a grappler truck to collect roadside material that might otherwise be discarded at secluded dumping sites.

During the meeting Wednesday night Lebouef also suggested that the Solid Waste Commission could create a 24-hourtrash hotline as a method for decreaing the amount of waste that is being dumped illegally.

The proposed hotline, which would be similar to the Crimestoppers Hotline created by the Sheriff’s Department. would enable individuals to provide anonymous tips in order to identify individuals who may be disposing of trash illegally, Lebouef pointed out.

At a regular Council meeting last month, Lebouef noted that the St. Landry Parish District Attorney’s Office has begun intensified prosecution of littering cases.

Currently individuals successfully prosecuted for littering can face maximum penalties of $1,000.

It’s been difficult to police St. Landry for extensive litter monitoring,since the parish has such a large rural area, said Lebouef.

“Possibly we could also advertise the people who have been prosecuted for littering as a way of helping with the situation,” said Lebouef.