After reading letters to the editor in the Bee-Picayune decrying the abundance of litter, the Garcias decided to take action.
They plan to sponsor a cleanup drive next month — and they’re willing to pay for workers if they can’t get enough volunteers.
“We live and work in Beeville and we want to keep it beautiful,” said Marco, office manager of 3-G Electric Co., which his father runs. “We see the litter and we read the letters to the editor about all the trash along the roads and we just thought that maybe we should do something about it. It’s our way of giving something back to the community.”
The cleanup drive is tentatively scheduled for Friday, March 7, and Saturday, March 8.
Marco said volunteers — or paid workers — will work four hours each day cleaning up Beeville.
The Garcias will coordinate their efforts with the city of Beeville, he said.
“We’re going to get with Lanny Holland (city building official and code enforcement officer) and find out what areas of the community are the hardest hit (by litter),” Marco said.
Naturally, the Garcias would prefer to use volunteers to clean up the community, but Marco said he isn’t sure he could enlist enough volunteers for the two-day project.
“We’re going to ask for volunteers but if it doesn’t look like we have enough to do the job, then maybe we’ll consider hiring 30 workers,” he said, adding that the workers will likely be paid minimum wage for their effort.
If enough volunteers enlist, then the Garcias will consider holding the weekend cleanup drive on a monthly basis.
Last year the city of Beeville sponsored its own cleanup drive.
Holland said he will hire a new assistant code enforcement and litter abatement official in the near future and the first job that person will have will be to organize this year’s version of the Spring Clean.
The first person to hold that position, Kathleen Echevarria, was the primary organizer of last year’s Spring Clean. That event, which was held on April 19, was a smashing success, thanks to Echevarria’s work, Holland said.
This year the event will be scheduled for about the same time. It will coincide with the Keep Texas Beautiful event and National Earth Day.
“Our goal is to make residents responsible for cleaning up their own properties,” Holland said. “We want them to be good stewards of their environment.”
City leaders believe that if volunteers are used to clean people’s property, then people will quit cleaning it themselves and leave the job to the volunteers.
Holland said that defeats the purpose of the program. By opening the city equipment yard once a year and providing roll-off dumpsters where people can discard old building materials, appliances and other items not normally picked up curb side by Allied Waste, the city gives responsible property owners a chance to get rid of things that they might not have been able conveniently to discard for months.
The program also encourages neighbors and family members to help the elderly and disabled clean their properties.
The Spring Clean program does take advantage of volunteers. But the volunteers clean up rubbish and trash on abandoned property or items which have been discarded on public property. The volunteers go onto private property only in cases where elderly and disabled residents are unable to find someone to help them clean for them.
Holland said the city will provide reflective vests and gloves for volunteers again this year. He believes the Garcias also will want to join in the Spring Clean event when it is held.
City employees will be at the equipment yard the day of the event to direct traffic and assist people discarding trash at the site, just as they were last year.
Holland said at least two residents have been fined by Municipal Judge Joe Salinas after being taken to his court in recent months for failing to clean up their properties. Another 60 litter abatement cases are pending and could end up going before Salinas.
“We’re holding people accountable,” Holland said.