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Ordinance would amend Municipal Code to require ‘bagged’ leaves, grass clippings

By Bill Short

Flag City LogoThe Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen has unanimously passed an ordinance on first reading that would require leaves and grass clippings to be “bagged” for city pickup.
Board members took the action during their Feb. 9 regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Thomas McGhee and seconded by Alderman Frankie Dakin.
The proposed ordinance is scheduled for final reading at the board’s March 9 meeting.
It states that leaving “yard waste” and other debris in the street is “unsightly,” potentially hazardous to motorists, and it contributes to problems with the city’s storm drainage system.
It would amend Title 17 of the Municipal Code to require that residential refuse containers be placed curbside in front of the house for collection.
“Curbside” would be defined as on the grass strip between the curb and the sidewalk, or in the yard next to the street if there is no curb or sidewalk.
If the Public Works Department has designated an alley for collection behind the property, the container would have to be placed curbside at the alley.
The location of commercial containers would be based on configuration of the property.
The Public Works Department could authorize individuals with “special needs or disabilities” to receive service without placing their containers curbside.
Residential property owners who want leaves to be collected would have to place them in either the city-provided cart or in closed and tied bags weighing less than 40 pounds each.
The city could advertise the dates of loose-leaf collection as determined annually by the city manager. The dates would begin no earlier than Nov. 15 and end no later than March 15.
To be collected, loose leaves could not be placed in the street, in drainage ditches or on sidewalks.
Yard waste and other debris, including bags of leaves or grass clippings, would have to be placed curbside away from mailboxes, fire hydrants and utility poles.
No yard waste or other debris could be placed in a location or in a manner where it would block the view of a motorist.
Individuals convicted of violating the ordinance would have to pay a penalty of up to $50. Each day that a violation continued after notification by the city would constitute a separate violation.
Interim City Manager Chris Dorsey said “some items” in the Municipal Code are “in conflict” with Millington’s current storm water ordinances and regulations.
Sanitation Supervisor Rodney Stanback said he is primarily concerned about “loose grass clippings” that get into the city’s storm drains. He wants leaves and grass clippings to be bagged to help control flooding in the area.
During a public hearing shortly before the board’s vote, Bitha Luze of 6888 Richard Wilson Drive said she and her husband bag everything they put at the curb.
She recalled that, a couple of months ago, leaves that “took up more space than a car” were on Tickle View Drive for more than a week. So, she telephoned Stanback, who sent a truck the next morning to vacuum them up.
“I thought this ordinance was in effect a long time ago,” Luze noted. “But there are lots of people who think any ordinance doesn’t include them. They do what they want to do.”
She said the ordinance should be in effect for everyone, and those who violate it should be fined.
Chip Cicalla of 7946 Pryor Place said the “issue” is not that leaves are blown to the curb, but whether the city is removing them. He recalled that leaves were in his front yard for “almost a month” while the truck was “steadily going up and down” Church Street every day.
Alderman Bethany Huffman noted that several streets in Millington, including “pretty much” the entire Lucy area, do not have curbs. She said it would be difficult for those residents to comply with the ordinance “without putting something in a ditch.”
Huffman also said the board has talked about publicizing the dates when the loose leaves could be collected.
Alderman Hank Hawkins said Millington needs to have “consistent enforcement” of Code violations throughout the city.
“If we’re going to take the time to rewrite an ordinance, and we don’t enforce it,” he said, “it’s useless.”
Alderman Mike Caruthers said a “procedure” should be included in the ordinance for disabled residents to apply for “extra help” to get their trash containers to the curb.

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