By Walter GeigerThe Barnesville city council put up a unanimous front when hit with allegations that it does a poor job cleaning and maintaining the minority areas of the community at its regular meeting Jan. 6.Eddie Felton, chairman of an organization called Lamar on the Move, was in attendance to further discuss allegations he made in an earlier letter. In the letter, he noted nothing was being done about abandoned vehicles marring the landscape on Washington and Jackson streets. He also said trees needed to be trimmed in order to maximize the efficiency of the new lighting and bushes and shrubs were overgrown at the E.P. Roberts Center.There were also questions about trash cans with lids torn off and litter pick up. ‘Mill Street is one of the main thoroughfares into the city and it is one of the most unappealing. We can do better to represent our city,’ Felton wrote.Finally, he questioned why councilmen Chris Hightower and Sammie Shropshire did not hold quarterly meetings with their constituents.Mayor Peter Banks addressed Felton’s allegations, disagreeing with his contention that the Mill Street corridor is unappealing. ‘If the citizens want to initiate a clean-up, the city will help organize it. I think the councilmen from wards two and three do a good job and this is not the place to criticize them,’ Banks said.Hightower said the idea of constituent meetings had already been ‘laid on my spirit’ and he planned to follow through with the idea. Shropshire said no one in his district had contacted him about issues. ‘People don’t want to hear about what we have accomplished,’ he added.Reiterating his complaints about Mill Street, abandoned houses and overgrown vegetation, Felton said, ‘The community could look a whole lot better. The city needs to be contributing.’City manager David Rose reported the Mill Street trees were on the trimming schedule and there was a general consensus that the damaged trash cans are a result of relatively new automated dumping mechanisms on trash trucks. Rose said the contractor was not doing a good enough job replacing damaged cans.Felton vowed to be back to follow up with the council on his contentions. ‘I am here because some of the people who have spoken to me are afraid to come. Things are not being kept up on one side of the tracks like they are on the other,’ he concluded.
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