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|Keep Ouachita Beautiful secures grant for litter efforts|
Keep Ouachita Beautiful has received grant funding to establish a litter hotline for Ouachita Parish and to create educational DVDs to be distributed to civic organizations, schools and law enforcement agencies throughout the state.
Keep Louisiana Beautiful recently awarded Keep Ouachita Beautiful $15,000 for those endeavors. The grant also will pay for the placement of signs within the parish with information about the litter hotline. Ouachita Parish Public Works will be responsible of placing the signs throughout the parish.
The Ouachita Parish Police Jury approved the cooperative endeavor agreement between Keep Ouachita Beautiful and the state organization during the police jury's regular meeting Monday. The police jury will be responsible for $13,300 in matching funds.
Cpl. Wayne Heckford, who serves as the parish's code enforcement officer, said grant funding will be used to install another phone at his office for the litter hotline. It will have a pre-recorded message and those who call it can leave information about where they saw litter violations take place.
It would be a direct telephone so callers wouldn't have to go through a switch board," Heckford said. "Right now, people call the sheriff's office, and they're told to call the police jury, and when they call here, they get the receptionist who transfers them to our (code enforcement) telephone, and many times we're out of the office."
"Callers often don't feel like they've made contact with the person they need to be reporting the litter violation to," Heckford added.
With the separate voice message system strictly for litter violations, Heckford said code enforcement could review the messages in a more timely fashion to assign officers to investigate any reports of violations within the parish.
Another phone line in the courthouse for code enforcement should only cost an additional $10 a month, parish treasurer Brad Cammack said.
The DVD, once completed, will detail state litter laws and ordinances and how all entities can help in enforcement. The DVD also will provide information on how local government agencies through state law can create an environmental court.