Commissioners Try to Slow Spread of Trash
Anti-Littering Signs are one Proposed Solution to Persistent Problem Along Mon River

Morgantown Dominion Post
29 April 2004
By Evelyn Ryan

When Monongalia County litter crews went down River Road earlier this year, they picked up 32 bags of trash between DuPont Road and the Westover Bridge.

Just three weeks later, it was as if the crew had never been there.

People have no respect for the highways, County Commissioner Bob Bell told fellow commissioners Wednesday. There's a need for signs warning against littering.

"I personally will give $1,000 to buy the first set of signs," he said. He estimated it would cost $8,000-$10,000 to put 300 "No littering" signs throughout the county.

"I would like to have signage to constantly remind people to not litter," Bell said.

He challenged Morgantown City Manager Dan Boroff to match that $1,000, and for Westover and Star City to chip in $500 each to help sign roads through their areas. Commissioners voted to match Bell's pledge with $1,000 in county funds.

One cost that Bell didn't include is the cost of installing the signs, County Facilities Supervisor Bobby Doyle said. His crews have been making and installing the city-style street signs throughout the county.

Commissioner John Pyles suggested that Doyle talk to the state Division of Highways to see if the litter signs could share a post with state highway signs.

At one time, you would see "No littering" signs along roads, signs that had the fine for littering on them, Pyles said. He suggested the county check and see if the DOH still had any of those signs.

Bell said he read on the Internet that a lot of the mess along highways comes from uncovered trucks. "We never catch anybody for that," he said, adding that crews have cleaned along W.Va. 705 three times in just a few weeks.

Pyles had a bone of his own to chew.

He pledged $500 toward a reward fund for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those who have been stealing county street signs. He especially wants word to get around among students at WVU. Commissioners agreed to match that $500.

"This has become such a critical problem that sometime, someone is going to die because the street sign is gone and EMS can't find them," Pyles said. Two signs on Stewart Street not far from his home, just north of the Morgantown city limits, are missing, he said.

Doyle was authorized to hire two part-time workers to go out and put up street signs this summer.

It's not easy to keep the signs from being stolen, he said. "They don't just steal the sign," he said, "they take the hardware and everything. I'm looking for tamperproof bolts -- but I'm trying to keep the cost down."