Hopkins County receives $58,871 SWAC grant for 3 clean up projects 

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

Dec 11, 2007 - Hopkins County was one of five locations recently approved to receive funding from the Solid Waste Advisory Committee. Approximately 56 percent of the $105,347 allocated in the 9-county Ark-Tex Council of Governments Service area went to Hopkins County for three projects.

�Grants were awarded as follows: Hopkins County, $58,871; the city of Avery, $8,021; the city of Annona, 4,010; Chapel Hill ISD, $10,000; and the city of Cooper, 24,445 for two projects. The Solid Waste Advisory Committee on Dec. 4 approved funding for all projects submitted. The SWAC ranked submitted applications and awarded funding based on their score.

The largest portion of the funds, $34,815, would be used to once again offer the county-wide clean-up program, for disposal of large household articles. A collection site will be set up in the spring in each of the four county precincts, likely the county barn, to accept items. Last year, all manner of items were accepted at each location, with chemicals such as paint and certain hazardous cleaners and other liquids designated to be left at only one location.

The type of materials accepted this year may vary, as some cost more than others to properly dispose of, Hopkins County Judge Cletis Millsap said Friday morning. One item the court will have to make a decision on will be used tires, which in some cases cost the county between $2 and $5 each to dispose of via a contractor out of Texarkana. They will meet with  Hopkins County Environmental Quality program Administrator Jerry Pierce at a later date to discuss the matter and decide what items to and not to accept in 2008.

A second project funded by the grant will be a $15,000 chipper, complete with a trailer with a lift to dump chips which will be used for composting.

The remaining portion of the funding will go toward educational materials for Hopkins County Clean up and Beautification efforts, Millsap said.

�Last year we struggled to get materials such as cleaning materials. The Beautification Committee would go to high schools and middle schools throughout the county and in various places held town hall meetings talking about way to clean up and not litter. At one point, they had done 16 community meetings. This year they were invited into the schools. Some of the schools are doing projects, like poster campaigns on how litter affects the county,� noted Millsap, who also serves as treasurer of the ATCOG Executive Board.

Schools visited included Saltillo, Sulphur Springs Middle School and High School, Como-Pickton High School, Sulphur Bluff, North Hopkins and Miller Grove schools.

The award also granted $10,00 in additional funding to “continue to let us get materials for clean up education.” Items such as bags, filled with pencils and other materials with messages reminding children and adults not to litter.

Millsap commended Environmental Quality administrator and officer Holly Rosamond for their efforts, as well as the Beautification Committee, the HC Environmental Committee, Texas Extension Service Education Committee, for all of their efforts. Officials at Morning Star was also noted for indicating the industry wants to also assist with county clean up efforts.

He noted that the large grant funding was due largely in part to the Beautifications Committee’s efforts in other communities.

�When the grant was submitted, it�s voted on by other members. We can�t vote on our own projects, but do for others� he said.�

In the past three years, Hopkins County has been able to purchase a pickup truck, funds to cover the environmental officer’s salary, and funding to buy educational material and for the solid waste and beautification program, thanks to ATCOG funding, he said.

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