By Angie Thompson

TIFTON -- City councilmen vowed to enforce a new ordinance effective March 8 and fine people who don't have the permit to pile old furniture, appliances and other "special pick ups" on city right of way. The minimum cost for the permit is $25 and any property owner who doesn't comply will face an appearance in Municipal court and the possibility of orders to pay court costs and fines, officials said.

City of Tifton Solid Waste Director Cal Carpenter said Monday that "if it isn't leaves or limbs or in the can" and ready for pick up, it is considered a special pick up.

"These piles of old furniture and old carpet are unsightly and unhealthy," said Mayor Paul Johnson. "The City Council has taken a strong stance on this."

Any city citizen who wants to request a special pick up should call customer service at 382-SERV (382-7378). Citizens who already have a utility account and call will be added to a list of legitimate special pick ups that will be circulated to code enforcement, sanitation and police department staff. Those who don't already have a utility account must visit city hall and pay the fee.

The list of legitimate special pick ups will be updated daily as pick ups are completed.

City Manager Charles Howell said citizens are encouraged to call if they see special pick ups. Door hanger warnings will notify residents that they have three days to remove the pile or make arrangements with the city for a special pick up. Illegal special pick up piles near vacant houses will also be called into customer service. Property owners will be located through the tax office and sent a warning notification.

Carpenter said citizens can take items that won't fit into the collection cans, such as electric fans, to the landfill or to the South Central collection site. There is no fee for items taken to the collection site.

The $25 minimum charge for special pick ups include piles up to the size of a pick up load and additional charges for larger loads.

In other action, the Tifton City Council:

*Approved the special exception request by Tracy Hadley to place a 1992 Fleetwood manufactured home at 833 Armour Road and the special exception request by Elijah Thomas to place a 2000 Pioneer manufactured home at 816 and 818 Armour Road. Both locations are zoned R-8 and the approvals are specific to the locations and the specific mobile homes submitted for approval.

*Announced that applications for the Becky Mann Volunteer of the Year Award would continue to be accepted through March 19.

*Approved the alcoholic beverage license for Parth Sales, Inc., d/b/a Speego at 1939 Whiddon Mill Road for a malt beverage package retail license.

*Approved the reclassification request of Sunbelt Plantation, Inc., for a .95 acre tract of land located at the northwest corner of 20th Street and U.S. Highway 41 north, currently zoned Neighborhood Commercial to be reclassified as Community Commercial.

*Swore in Major Jeff Flynt as a member of the CityNet Advisory Board and Dr. Joe Turner as a member of the Tifton/Tift County Tourism Board.

*Gave its nod of support to a group of Northeast TCHS students who presented a program on their plans to beautify the sound wall recently constructed on the east side of I-75. The students plan to paint a mural on the wall and to plant grasses native to Georgia. Science teacher Amy Heidt, one of nine teachers involved in the project, said the group had already gotten approval from the Department of Transportation and the Board of Education and would speak to Tift County commissioners tonight. Funding for three or four year long project was secured by a state grant.

*Approved the $12,470 purchase of an air compressor for the water department from Ingersoll Rand Equipment in Atlanta, the lowest bidder. Water Department director Damon Harper said no local bidders met specifications.

*Approved the lowest bid from Griffin Ford on an F-350 one-ton diesel truck for the wastewater treatment plant.

*Approved the $167,064 purchase of an automated garbage truck from Beck Motor Company.

*Approved the $10,964 purchase of Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus and the $27,437 purchase of a Hazardous Materials response vehicle for the fire department. The items weren't budgeted, but Fire Chief Mike Flippo said the purchases would be funded by a Homeland Security Grant from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.

*Postponed a scheduled hearing on the 2003 Alcoholic Beverage License and 2004 Alcoholic Beverage License application for George Timothy Wiggins d/b/a Commerce Way Pub. Council voted previously to suspend Wiggins' current license and to table his application of the 2004 license pending the outcome of a charge of violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act against Wiggins. Attorney Greg Sowell announced that Wiggins was in the hospital and unable to attend the hearing.

To contact reporter Angie Thompson, call 382-4321, ext. 208.

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