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Crimes division cracks down on illegal dumping in Ellis County

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The Ellis County Press

WAXAHACHIE - Officials in Ellis County are starting to crack down on illegal dumping and other environmental issues causing public nuisances throughout the county.

A board of nine volunteer members was announced Thursday during a press conference to serve on the environmental citizen review board.

The board will review public nuisance violations investigated by Ellis County District Attorney Environmental Crimes Lead Investigator Carl Redford.

'The whole idea of the new review board is neighbors helping neighbors,' Redford said.

'To help the county grow, you need a clean county and clean town,' Assistant Chairman of the Environmental Citizen Review Board Larry Gilbert said.

'It will help the value of our land.'

The board, which was the brainchild of County Commissioner Larry Jones and Redford, will review cases when submitted by Redford to determine how extreme hardship cases should be handled.

People are given 30 days to clean up their property after receiving an Ellis County Environmental Health notice to abate a nuisance.

Redford said he hoped to

organize Boys Scouts, Girl Scouts, church groups, school groups or other volunteers to help elderly, handicapped or people below the poverty level who can not afford to bring their property up to compliance.

'I like what I see here, said Jones. 'Good all-around project for the citizens and the county. Everybody's a winner here.'

'This is very rewarding to see this board take off.'

Redford said volunteer help is only available to hardship cases, not applying to people who have the funds to comply with the violations or who are just 'too lazy' to comply.

If the property is still a nuisance after 30 days, the violator must appear before a county justice of the peace judge, for a possible additional month to come into compliance.

A lien is placed on the property in the amount the county must spend to clean the affected area, if the property is still left a nuisance after the 60 days.

Various county agencies are also working together by 'reducing or eliminating illegal dumping and other nuisances…' to beautify Ellis County.

The agencies involved include the county commissioners, district attorney's office, sheriff's department, county constables, county department of development, fire marshal and the department of emergency management.

Within the next year, Redford said, he plans to gain corporate funding, start volunteer clean-up weekends throughout the county, and provide educational outreach to alert citizens to how they can keep their property nuisance free.

A grant worth $70,000 from the North Central Texas Council of Governments in December paid for Redford's truck, his salary and educational materials.

Redford said he has made six felony arrests, issued 10 Class A, eight Class B and 363 public nuisances, resulting in over two million pounds of trash being cleaned out in Ellis County since December.

The Ellis County Environmental Crimes Division is offering people 'amnesty' from Aug. 10 to Sept. 10 to give residents time to clean up their property before stricter environmental laws will be enforced.

With a notice or copy of the amnesty flyer people can save about $3 per cubic yard of solid waste they dump at CSC Disposal in Avalon.

Passenger vehicle tires can be disposed at Midlothian's Safe Tire Disposal for $1 per tire instead of the normal $3 fee.

Large truck tires can be disposed of for $3 saving residents $2, off the normal $5 fee.

Flyers may be picked up from the Ellis County District Attorney's office or the Department of Development at 1201 N. Highway 77.

Board members include Chairman Jake Clifton of Bristol, Assistant Chairman Larry Gilbert of Bardwell, Jacque Brown of Ferris, Ferris Fire Chief Eddie Duran, (Thomas) Odell Wilson of Ennis, Karen Cox of Midlothian, David Stacks of Waxahachie, Bobby Vickery of Avalon and Sharon McManis of Red Oak.

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