JONESBORO — The Board of Commissioners voted to discontinue the Keep Clayton County Beautiful Program during its Feb. 16 meeting.
The vote was 3-2, with Commissioners Felicia Franklin, Sonna Gregory and Gail Hambrick voting to drop the program.
KCCB was established by the board in November 2019 as a Quality of Life Enhancement Program with an annual budget of $150,000. In January 2020 the county announced Lexie Morgan had been hired as the program manager.
The initiative was tasked with working with community leaders and residents to create “sustainable practice and long-term solutions” to end litter, reduce waste, promote recycling and beautify communities.
Following a presentation to the board by Morgan on Jan. 26, the three board members appeared unhappy with its progress.
Hambrick questioned what the program was actually doing.
Gregory said the last time the county had a similar program nothing came of it. She said money could be better spent.
“I can’t go back out to the taxpayers and explain to them how we’re spending $150,000 and they rode past all this trash.”
Franklin said that she’s getting emails and “slammed” on social media about the trash problem in the county.
“It doesn’t take a year to get something up and running,” she said.
Franklin asked whether the board had been “fiscally responsible” in supporting the program, adding that she had initially voted in favor of it.
“There has not been a substantial return on investment in the last year,” she said.
Board Chair Jeff Turner and Demont Davis were in favor of keeping the program and giving it more time to accomplish its intent.
Turner said the program’s goal was to work to create partnerships and collaboration in the county, not actually going out to pick up trash.
“We’ve created a unit to bring initiatives to start bringing together organizations of people and businesses to join in to help us,” Turner said. “Somebody has to be that point person. The initiative itself has value. We would be doing the county a disservice by abolishing this service.”
Davis called KCCB an asset to the county. He said the program needs to be given a chance, adding that the pandemic has slowed progress.
“For us to get rid of something that we’ve not given the ability and the latitude to be successful, I have to ask have we put forth the proper protocol in trying to keep our county beautiful.”
Monies saved by eliminating KCCB will be returned to the county’s general fund.