LAWRENCEVILLE — Five years after a lawsuit over solid waste caused a rift between the county government and Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful, commissioners voted Tuesday to restore a relationship with the nonprofit.
Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash described the agreement as “a return to GC&B’s roots.” The deal gives the nonprofit administration of the county Adopt-A-Road program and Take Pride in Gwinnett program as well as educational programs relating to increasing recycling and reducing graffiti and litter and other environmental issues.
“We have found that these are areas where GC&B can be more effective than Gwinnett County government, and we are contracting with GC&B for some services that fit in this category,” Nash said. “For example, as the local affiliate of the National Adopt-A-Road program. GC&B is uniquely positioned to manage this important volunteer effort aimed at keeping roadways in Gwinnett free of trash. GC&B also is the local affiliate for Keep America Beautiful Inc. and can bring the support of the national organization to programs here in Gwinnett.
“GC&B has a long history with educational programs and has considerable experience in rallying volunteers to address community issues, such as graffiti and conservation of natural resources,” she added, saying that the organization’s large volunteer force can be used to help the community further. “As we have found over the last few years, volunteers can be a critical part of delivering county services. With the help of GC&B, we don’t have to start from scratch to bring together volunteers who are interested in beautifying Gwinnett and keeping it an attractive, clean community.”
In 2008, the county severed its ties to the nonprofit after a judge ruled that the county could not turn over its solid waste program administration. The lawsuit eventually resulted in a controversial program dividing the county into districts and assigning trash haulers to the residential areas, charging residents on property tax bills.
Connie Wiggins, the director of Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful, said the nonprofit “significantly scaled back our programs and services” after the 2008 ruling, but basic programs such as Adopt-A-Road continued.
“We are looking forward to working with the county in the future,” she said.
Commissioner John Heard said much of the county’s success can be attributed to the organization.
“We are who we are in a big way, due to what Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful has done,” Heard said.