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Fairfax County is getting ready to step up its policing of the advertising and political signs often placed in median strips and in intersections.

Later this month, the board will consider whether to use jail inmates in the Community Labor Force to remove signs around the county. There will be a public hearing on the proposal Feb. 26.

The program will cost about $150,000 per year.

The signs have long been illegal to place in right-of-way owned by the Virginia Department of Transportation, but VDOT does not have the personnel available to remove the signs.

If approved, Deputy County Executive Rob Stalzer said the Community Labor Force crews will focus on removing illegal signs along about 53 roads around the county.

The county will store the signs for five days, during which time the sign owners can reclaim them. After the five-day period, the county will dispose of the signs.

Signs providing direction to a special event are exempt from the law for the week of the event.

Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) said he thinks the county has already made progress in reducing the number of signs littering the roadways by starting to draw more attention to the matter last year.

“We’ve done a pretty good job,” he said. “This is a critical next step in going after the worst of the worst.”

Some supervisors expressed concern that the program would take county staff away from other critical duties.

“This could be a pretty large undertaking. It could be something that grows over time,” said Supervisor Jeff McKay (D-Lee District). He said the board needs to be prepared to adequately fund the program.

Stalzer said he believes the $150,000 will be sufficient to get the program off the ground.

“Hopefully over time the need to use as much enforcement will diminish,” said board Chairwoman Sharon Bulova (D-At large).

kschumitz@fairfaxtimes.com