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County increasing dumping and litter eradication

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MEMPHIS, Tenn.-- Shelby County officials said they've had enough when it comes to blight, dumping and litter.

They said they were increasing clean up efforts, and they want taxpayers to know how much it's costing.

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell said the problem has gotten so bad, he needs more money to fight blight.

He's asked the County Commission to increase the budget for blight eradication to almost to $1 million.

"It's getting worse. It's the worst I've seen it in a long time," said Vegetation Supervisor Danny Daniels.

Daniels told us he has been riding the back roads of Shelby County for years.

WREG tagged along as Daniels' team picked up cans, cups and all kinds of trash along Bolen Haus and Coleman Roads in Raleigh.

The county said right now it shells out $350,000 to fight roadside trash but admitted that's not nearly enough.

So how much trash do these crews pick up each month?

Daniels said his team picked up about 30 tons a month, but recently that number has increased.

In April and May, they picked up about 40 tons.

"I think we owe it to our taxpayers to do a better job," said Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell.

Luttrell said he was hearing taxpayer complaints.

One way his department plans to fight the blight he said was by increasing pickup.

Eight additional inmates will be added to work Monday thru Friday, bringing the total working every day to 24.

"This is becoming a priority. It's a problem that's becoming more and more of a priority," explained Luttrell.

Hidden cameras have already been installed in some places, and Luttrell said investigators must be proactive.

"We have to be more aggressive in our policy. We have to be more aggressive in our work to clean it up, and we have to be more aggressive in our work to educate the public about the significance of this," he said.

Luttrell said once they have a better idea of the budget they will look at the ideas of more cameras or extra policing if needed.

For now, they said they will release the numbers every month for how much blight is costing taxpayers and which streets are getting hit the worst.

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