Tangiaphoa officials battling litter, vandalism

There’s a serious litter and vandalism problem in Tangipahoa Parish, with reports of tires thrown on roadsides, highway signs repeatedly stolen, and garbage dumped in private yards.

On Monday, the Tangipahoa Parish Council agreed to join with Parish President Gordon Burgess’s office and parish law enforcement agencies to try to find a solution, including using cameras to identify the culprits.

But even those who are caught, however, aren’t always punished.

Justices of the peace and their constables are responsible for apprehending and punishing those who are caught littering. The problem is, Director of Finance Jeff McKneely said, that offenders frequently ignore warrants.

“I’ve heard that there are 40,000 outstanding warrants for various charges on the books,” McKneely said. “How do you handle something like that?”

Councilman Carlo Bruno said he has received numerous complaints from residents, noting that 25 tires have been picked up in the last two weeks on one road where about 10 houses are located.

“These people are scared and they should be,” Bruno said. “We have had to replace stop signs twice in the last three days, we keep picking up the tires that are stopping up the ditches, and last week, a chain-link fence around a small private cemetery was stolen. We have got to stop this.”

Bruno suggested the council purchase special cameras, an idea that McKneely said Burgess is considering.

McKneely also noted that Burgess, who was not at Monday’s meeting, had called a meeting of parish department heads recently to address the litter problem.

Council President David Vial also urged council members to become involved in activities of the Tangi Clean Committee and other groups trying to remedy the littering problem.