County judge: Flowers' use of trash bin not a concern

Jefferson County Judge Dutch King said Tuesday that he approves state Senator Stephanie Flowers’ use of a county trash bin outside a Main Street site she recently purchased and is renovating.

The Commercial received a complaint that Flowers was apparently utilizing a county trash bin at the 217 Main Street location, which is the former site of the Long’s Books and Gift Store. Flowers, an attorney who is seeking re-election to the state Senate, had said that she intends to use the site as an office and campaign headquarters.

The complainant said that other downtown property owners clearing or improving their sites have had to pay a fee to Waste Management Inc. for on-site usage of a WM trash bin.

Efforts to reach Flowers by telephone were unsuccessful, but King said that after being contacted by a reporter he had checked into the matter and determined that Flowers followed proper procedures in obtaining the loaned trash bin through the county recycling department.

“I don’t have a problem helping anyone in a situation like this,” said King, who noted that there’s no fee for using a county trash bin. “I’m told that she asked for help by having a dumpster put beside the old store so she could dispose of materials as necessary while bringing it up to date. If any of the material can be recycled, we’ll do it.”

King said Flowers didn’t receive preferential treatment.

“We are in the business of helping people, period,” King said. “We have placed dumpsters all around the county and will continue to do so. Anyone can request one for a cleaning project and if we’re capable of putting one in a specific location, we’ll do it. It’s all part of a team effort to make and keep the county cleaner. I’m happy we can do it.”

King joined county and Pine Bluff city workers in a recent neighborhood cleanup around Coleman Intermediate School in Pine Bluff. The county judge said he was proud to take part in the effort that school officials believe will make the campus and surrounding area safer for students.