Trash might be the first thing you notice when you're driving into Wichita Falls.
The access roads off of I-44 and other areas of the city are filled with plastic bags that are clinging on to branches. There's cups, bottles, food and even boxes just laying on the side of the road. Assistant City Manager Kevin Hugman says this trashy problem could keep businesses from setting up shop in town and it could impact the growth of our city.
"If you have a lot of litter along your streets then that's definitely going to create a bad impression for maybe a tourist or a visitor who might be looking to relocate to Wichita Falls and we don't want to create that negative impression," said Hugman.
But there's an even bigger problem. Hugman says keeping the city clean will now become more difficult and expensive because both the state and the city are dealing with budget cuts.
"This coming spring we're actually taking on more of the roadway mowing and trash pick up from the state because budgets have been cut. That's an added cost to the city to try to address some of those areas where the state has cut back," said the city leader.
That's why this year the city will be investing about $170,000 in beautification efforts. That will cover the hiring of five new employees that will pick up large litter items as they mow the new areas the city is now in charge of. But Hugman says keeping the city clean is not just the city's responsibility.
"If someone litters and throws trash out of a vehicle that's a traffic violation that the police department would handle but as you can imagine it's very difficult to catch someone doing that," said Hugman.