No more 'waste dirt' in Lamar County

No more 'waste dirt' in Lamar County
Road Manager Tommy Jones said the service stopped immediately after learning about the lawsuit. Source: WDAM.

LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Lamar County residents will no longer be able to receive a 'waste dirt' delivery after officials found out the service breaks the law.

Road Manager Tommy Jones said he checked on Lamar County's process with excess dirt or gravel, what the county refers to as 'waste dirt,' after a federal lawsuit was filed against the Wayne County Board of Supervisors for the misuse of taxpayer resources last week.

The lawsuit, filed by a local contractor, states the board has been providing resources, like dirt and gravel, for free to private citizens for use on their private property. The suit claims the dirt, which is the property of Wayne County taxpayers, is being supplied to citizens to gain support for the supervisors.

After that lawsuit was filed, Jones said he called the state auditor to check on the policy in Lamar County.

"Once I explained to him what we work under, he said you can't do that," said Jones. "So whenever they tell us we can't do it, we are going to stop doing whatever it is we're doing, because that's what's going to keep them out of trouble."

According to County Administrator Jody Waits, the county has provided the delivery of 'waste dirt' for years to homeowners.

"The board has done that for years, in which if we are digging out ditches or cutting back for a road, if it's dirt that we couldn't use, rather than just go dump it somewhere, if we had nowhere to dump it, we would store it on county property," said Waits.

Jones said the dirt, as well as the fuel, equipment or manpower used to move or deliver it, are taxpayer resources.

"It's never been considered that way. It was just it was a waste material, and we were just getting rid of it. What we'll wind up with now is mountains of material," said Jones.

Jones said the service stopped immediately after he became aware of the issue.

"Once I got that opinion from the Attorney General, we will no longer deliver any waste dirt anywhere in the county unless we are working right there in that area," Jones said. "If you are there, and you need it, we can give it to you, but outside of that, it's going to be the end of it."

"We're not knowingly doing anything that's outside of the law. And if something like that brings into question what we're doing, we want to make sure we are doing it correctly," Waits said.

Residents can take the 'waste dirt' from the county, if they live near where the county crews are digging the ditches or work site. However, once the 'waste dirt' is moved to the county facilities, it can not be delivered, nor can it be picked up by residents.