In September 2021, the Marion County Commission approved Resolution No. 21-R-444, formally establishing the Litter Task Force.
The Litter Task Force was formed to achieve several specific goals within Marion County:
Enlist the entire community in an effort to eradicate litter and illegal dumping.
Change the mindset and behavior of those that live, work and play within Marion County emphasizing that littering will not be tolerated.
Improve the quality of life for all citizens.
Provide an effective and fiscally efficient litter program focusing on prevention.
Protect the County’s natural resources.
Project a clean and viable community to visitors.
Several agencies throughout the county and state have participated in the Litter Task Force. These include:
The Ocala Metro Chamber and Economic Partnership
City of Ocala
City of Dunnellon
City of Belleview
Florida Department of Transportation
Florida Forest Service
Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission
Office of the State Attorney for the Fifth Judicial Circuit of Florida
Waste Pro of Florida, Inc.
Waste Management Inc. of Florida
Florida Express Environmental, LLC
Realty and World, LLC
Marion County District 1 Commissioner Craig Curry served as the liaison to the Task Force.
After completing its research and discussion period, the Litter Task Force presented its final plan (https://tinyurl.com/yc2m c8ax) to the Marion County Commission at its meeting on July 19. The commission approved the plan, setting in motion several new initiatives to help combat litter throughout Marion County.
This updated plan includes $150,000 for a litter campaign throughout the county, updated litter-related ordinances, an additional code enforcement officer position and required equipment, and final selection of a new litter logo and mascot for Marion County.
Additionally, the Task Force recommended an overhaul of the Marion County Litter Ordinance. This new ordinance was also approved during the public hearing following the commission meeting on July 19.
Highlights from the new ordinance include increasing civil penalties for a noncriminal infraction from $50 to $150 for the first conviction, from $250 to $300 for the second conviction, and $500 for the third and all subsequent convictions. Additional penalties were added to the second and all subsequent violations to include incarceration of up to 10 days in county jail, as well as litter pick-up or other community service.
Participants in the Litter Task Force were also recognized during the Commission meeting for their efforts in helping to bring the task force to reality.
With the efforts of the Litter Task Force, Marion County expects to reduce litter throughout all corners of the county.