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Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Marion County Litter Task Force finalizes plan

The Marion County Litter Task Force received approval of its final plan this week, setting into motion several new initiatives to help combat the abundance of litter throughout the county.

After completing its research and discussion period, the Litter Task Force presented its final plan during the Marion County Board of County Commissioners regular meeting on Tuesday.

During the meeting, the commissioners approved the plan, which includes $150,00 for a litter campaign throughout the county, updated litter-related ordinances, an additional code enforcement officer position and required equipment, and the final selection of a new litter logo and mascot for Marion County.

Marion County No Horsin Around with Marion litter logo
Marion County’s new litter logo (Photo courtesy of Marion County)

In addition, the task force recommended an overhaul of the Marion County Litter Ordinance. This new ordinance was approved during the public hearing that was held after Tuesday’s meeting.

Highlights from the new ordinance include increasing civil penalties for a noncriminal infraction: $50 to $150 for the first conviction, $250 to $300 for the second conviction, and $500 for the third and all subsequent convictions.

Additional penalties were also added to the second violation and all subsequent violations. These added penalties include incarceration of up to 10 days in county jail, as well as litter pickup or other community service.

Participants in the Litter Task Force were recognized during this week’s meeting for their efforts in helping to bring the task force to reality.

Members of Marion County Litter Task Force 7 19 22
Members of the Litter Task Force were recognized during the Marion County Board of County Commissioners meeting on July 19 (Photo courtesy of Marion County)

The Litter Task Force was established in September of 2021 when the Marion County commissioners approved Resolution No. 21-R-444. The task force was formed to achieve the following goals within the 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 by emphasizing that littering will not be tolerated.
  • Improve the quality of life for all citizens.
  • Provide an effective and fiscally efficient litter program that focuses on prevention.
  • Protect the county’s natural resources.
  • Project a clean and viable community to visitors.
Members of Marion County Litter Task Force participating in workshop
Marion County Litter Task Force members participating in a workshop (Photo courtesy of Marion County)

Multiple agencies throughout the county and state have participated in the Litter Task Force, including 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, and Realty and World, LLC.

Thanks to the efforts of the Litter Task Force, Marion County expects to reduce litter throughout all corners of the county while keeping the community beautiful for years to come.