Face-to-face meeting with city leader on dumping in Harlingen

For the first time in years, Jeff Conner said he's finally getting straight talk from the City of Harlingen when it comes to illegal dumping in his neighborhood.

"Nice to meet you," he said to a sanitation supervisor.

Rene De La Garza met with Conner at the Lazy Palms Subdivision where he lives.

It's the sight of continuous illegal dumping, according to Conner.

"Something has got to be done," he said. "Cause people are just dumping, dumping and dumping."

The city currently relies on one of its 8 surveillance cameras to catch dumpers near Mangrove Palm and Roosevelt Road.

Violators face being ticketed and fined.

But Jeff said the cameras haven't been the answer.

Junk keeps piling up, according to him.

"Obviously nobody is being deterred... It continues to happen."

De La Garza admitted the camera in the area in question hasn TMt always functioned as it should.

Illegal dumping plagues many other parts of the city.

Only a handful of tickets have been issued to violators.

"We try to put an end to this... And we end up turning shorthanded."

The city sanitation department picks up illegally dumped trash once every 30 days.

The dumpsite at Lazy Palms was cleaned up just a few days ago.

Already, trash is piling up there.

Conner said it's going to be a long month.

He called the mess an eyesore.

De La Garza said there are concerns about a potential for flooding during a tropical storm with illegally dumped trash.

"Stuff like that gets into our drain ditches... Clogs up the water flow."

Conner said his main concern is a lack of neighborhood pride.

"We kind of have to be lone vigilantes out here to patrol this neighborhood and take care of it."

The city talked to Conner about a new plan of attack.

De La Garza said his department will try to work more quickly to clean up future dumping.

He also wanted to get code enforcement to patrol more frequently.

Citizens will also be urged to report suspicious activity.

Conner said the meeting, which was set up by Action 4 News, helped to get the ball rolling on a possible solution to the problem.