Political, advertising signage becoming litter, KEB president says

Group hoping for more cleanups, street adoptions

This Oct. 21, 2014 photo shows political campaign signs near a state highway in Westerville, Ohio. Signs touting local and statewide candidates are in full bloom along highways, street corners and public rights of way. Enter the Columbus Sign Ninjas, a group that sprang up to take down campaign clutter from public spaces. (AP Photo/Columbus Dispatch, Fred Squillante)

The 2022 General Election was held last November and members of Keep El Dorado Beautiful said they still see campaign signs posted in some areas around town.

The group said there is also an ongoing problem with people posting signs, such as political signs and advertisements for rummage sales, on utility poles.

Additionally, signs advertising self-employment and small business services that pop up roadside often remain on site for so long, they become tattered or are knocked over or are blown away by wind and rain.

KEB issued a reminder that not only do such issues contribute to the city's litter problem, they also violate city ordinances and state law.

"We're very concerned with signs on (utility) poles, like signs for these garage sales, and we're asking that if you have a sign posted to come back and take them down when you're done with the event," said Janis Van Hook, president of KEB.

"That's not supposed to happen because there was an ordinance passed years ago that says that's against the law," Van Hook continued.

Per city Ordinance 1712, which was adopted in 2005, "it shall be unlawful to place any sign, handbill, circular, sign, or advertising matter of any kind on any public street, sidewalk, telephone pole or other structure on public property within the limits of the city."

Further, state law prohibits the attachment of signs to utility poles or living plants.

"It is unlawful for any person, firm, corporation or association to nail, staple or otherwise attach or cause to be nailed, stapled or otherwise attached any sign, poster or billboard to any public utility pole or to any living tree, shrub or other plant located upon the rights-of-way of any public road, highway or street in this state," according to Arkansas code 5-67-103.

The prohibition that is set by state law does not apply to any warning, safety or identification sign that is posted to a public utility pole by a utility company or cooperative.

Violations of the state law may result in a fine of $50 - $500. Each day the violation persists constitutes a separate offense and fine for each offense.

"Even those who post them in the ground, them sitting there, we have rainstorms and wind that blows them down and out into the street. That causes debris," Van Hook said.

"For people who advertise about self-employment or events, don't post signs on utility poles," she continued. "Get a stick and post them in the ground and when it's been a while, go back and get it."

City Ordinance 1777 calls for election campaign signs to be collected seven days after the final election to which the campaign applies.

The owner of the property on which a campaign sign is placed is responsible for the removal of the sign.

Candidates must have permission from property owners to place campaign signs on private property.

Upon granting permission, the property owner assumes responsibility of maintenance and removal of the sign and could face fines for violations.

KEB members also discussed the group's Adopt-A-Street program, saying that several groups and individuals have come aboard within the past two years and agreed to help keep designated city streets litter-free.

Some adopters are slacking, however, KEB members said.

Street signs are posted denoting groups and individuals who adopt streets and KEB has said streets may also be adopted in honor of someone else, such as a lost loved one.

KEB is calling on street adopters to adhere to their commitment with regular cleanups of the streets they adopt.

"Ninety-nine percent are committed and are doing what they promised to do, but for those who don't follow up, we will have to take your name off the sign and give it to someone who will commit," said Van Hook.

KEB members have said that most of the streets that have been adopted are concentrated on the northwest side of the city and they would like the effort to spread to other parts of the community.

For more information, call Van Hook at 870-918-2706 or visit the KEB Facebook page.