If you’ve got trash and live in Val Verde County Precinct 1, members of the county road crew will pick it up.
“We started picking up trash in Precinct 1 on Monday morning, and we’re going to go as long as it takes. We don’t have a limit, and we’re not going to stop until we’re done,” said County Commissioner Precinct 1 Martin Wardlaw, who is spearheading the cleanup effort.
Wardlaw said the members of his road crew, led by foreman Mario Cervantes, are picking up tree limbs, brush and yard waste, old household appliances and broken furniture, waste from remodeling projects and tires.
Wardlaw said the crew will pick up “anything and everything” left on the curb but asked residents to separate similar items in piles.
For instance, he said, tires should be set apart from other trash items, since they have to be picked up and disposed of separately.
“This is giving people a chance to clean up their properties,” he said.
“The crew has a huge front-end loader, dump trucks and a claw truck for picking up brush,” Wardlaw said.
The dump trucks full of trash make their way to the city landfill, where the trucks are weighed and Wardlaw’s precinct is billed for the amount.
“We’ve done this before, and we do it precinct-wide when we can afford it because we are having to pay the city to dump it at the city landfill,” the commissioner said.
Wardlaw said this year, each commissioner has been budgeted $6,000 for trash pickup efforts.
He said if more money is needed, he will ask the funds be moved from his operating budget.
“We’re not going to stop until we’re done,” he said.
Wardlaw has concentrated on cleaning up his precinct for some time.
Several years ago, he began offering a $100 cash “bounty” for anyone phoning law enforcement and providing proof of illegal dumping activity in Precinct 1. This year, Wardlaw has increased that reward to $200, money that comes from his own pocket.
Wardlaw said the cleanup efforts have always been important to him.
“I just can’t stand all the trash. San Felipe is a beautiful, historic area of the county, and it should be the centerpiece of Del Rio. I also realize that some people may not have the means or ability or assistance to remove this type of trash from their properties,” Wardlaw said.
“We’re also hoping that if one person cleans up his or her property, that will be an encouragement or incentive for that person’s neighbors,” the commissioner added.
Wardlaw said he is will be meeting with city officials to continue talks about waiving or reducing fees at the dump for neighborhood cleanups.
On Thursday, the Precinct 1 road crew was working along McLymont, Gillis, Frausto and Ramon streets near the Lamar Elementary School campus.
Cervantes and the members of the road crew filled a dump truck with cut tree limbs, discarded cabinets, rolls of wire fence and a stack of discarded rugs.
“This is hard work, but we are doing this because we love San Felipe,” Cervantes said.