City officials are hoping to stamp out discarded trash throughout the community by leading a fight against litter.

City officials are hoping to stamp out discarded trash throughout the community by leading a fight against litter.

Upon taking over as Pickerington city manager on July 1, one of Bill Vance's first directives was to employees of the city's service department.

Vance instructed them to place renewed emphasis on litter, and service department employees who travel throughout the city now are spending more time collecting wayward trash they see on a daily basis.

"It's just a daily service priority by the service department," Vance said. "We pick up litter every single day."

The movement isn't entirely new. Service department employees always have sought to clear city streets and other public areas of unwanted trash.

For several years, the city's code enforcement arm has organized a "Pick Up Around Pickerington" day in the fall and spring. As such, the city has outfitted up to 100 volunteers with gloves, trash bags and safety vests, and asked them to lead clean-up efforts in areas throughout Pickerington.

Additionally, Mayor Mitch O'Brien earlier this year stepped up efforts to attract workers for the Volunteers In Pickerington, or VIP program. Through it, the city solicits volunteers' assistance or donations to beautify public areas by adopting flower beds, painting fences, restoring benches, weeding, mulching and other activities.

However, by seeking to collect litter and rid public areas of trash daily, Vance hopes to raise awareness about the issue to improve the city's appearance and encourage others to do the same.

"Wherever I have had the pleasure to serve, litter collection has been a daily routine," he said. "Collecting litter in public rights of way is leadership by example at its best.

"There's nothing more important than maintaining a clean community."

By cleaning up the community, Vance said he hopes to boost civic pride. He also wants to maintain a city that's attractive to prospective residents and businesses, while protecting or increasing local property values.

Vance and Pickerington service director Ed Drobina said residents and business owners already have taken note of the litter removal and prevention efforts, and have been pleased with the results.

"It really has made a big difference," Drobina told Pickerington City Council members on July 20.