ANDERSON – Strapped for cash, the City of Anderson will not participate, for the first time in 29 years, in a citywide cleanup in May.
The culprit: Overtime and other expenses incurred clearing streets of snow and ice this past winter.
The Rev. J.T. Meniffee city-wide cleanup was started in 1985 and has been organized by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Commission with assistance from the city, churches and volunteers.
During the annual cleanup, Anderson city workers would pick up trash throughout the community from houses, streets and alleys.
Anderson city officials announced Monday that services provided in the past for the annual cleanup will not be available this year.
In a press release, the administration of Mayor Kevin Smith said the overtime worked by various city departments involved in snow removal have reduced the amount of overtime available for the remainder of the year.
In recent years, the city has spent about $15,000 in overtime for city employees who operate machinery and equipment and $3,000 for the planning of the annual cleanup campaign.
Though the city will not participate, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Commission is making plans to proceed with the cleanup effort this May.
“We’re still planning to do a cleanup,” the Rev. Wayne Redding said. “We are meeting to devise a plan to implement the cleanup campaign.
“The campaign is designed to instill pride in our community and to identify areas that need attention,” he said. “We will never stop doing that.”
Reddings said he is displeased with the city administration’s position on the cleanup.
City officials explained in the press release that residents can still get rid of large trash items: “The services provided during the cleanup are available to Anderson residents each day of the week, excluding weekends.”
Under the terms of the garbage contract, Best-Way picks up bulk items for city customers a day after the normal trash pick-up.
Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.