Cleanup could be on ballot
Published 2:34 pm Wednesday, March 22, 2006
By By KERRY WHIPPLE BEAN – Publisher
Escambia County residents could have a chance in November to vote on ordinances to help clean up the county.
County commissioners hope to put a referendum on the ballot that would allow ordinances to curb such nuisances as litter, pollution, noise and overgrown weeds, commission Chairman David Stokes said.
Commissioners have not taken official action on the referendum yet.
A year-old limited home rule law allows counties to seek a referendum on ordinances to curb nuisances such as litter, pollution, noise and overgrown weeds. A majority of voters in unincorporated areas of the county would have to approve the ordinances in the referendum.
“I certainly hope voters understand we don't want the authority so we can dictate what happens in the rural areas,” Stokes said. “This is for nuisances, for people that start things like junkyards. You've got some beautiful places in the rural areas where people go for peace and quiet.”
Escambia County was instrumental in getting the legislation passed, Stokes said.
Commissioners at one time heard about a party that was going to be held in the county, but they had no way of controlling what might happen there through permitting or other means.
Escambia County Commissioner Larry White agreed that county commissioners are interested in seeking such a referendum.
White said Escambia County was supportive of the bill last year, working with the Alabama Association of County Commissions as it worked to pass the legislation.
Escambia County residents have been working on other anti-litter measures recently.
Coastal Gateway Economic Development Authority officials have said litter is one of the biggest drawbacks to attracting industry to Escambia County.
Last week community members kicked off an anti-litter campaign in the county, joining PALS to limit litter.
At a breakfast for county commissioners Tuesday morning, officials with the Coastal Gateway Economic Development Authority urged Escambia, Conecuh and Monroe county commissioners to seek referendums on the nuisance ordinances.
Some counties in Alabama have already begun to take advantage of the new home rule law. Autauga, DeKalb, Jackson and Marshall counties will hold referendums on their own nuisance ordinances June 6.