CORDOVA, TN (WMC) - Mike Turpin has lived in Cordova's Riverwood subdivision for 27 years. Trash pick-up, he says, has never been this bad.
"Slow. Slow. Very slow," he said. "A lot of times they won't pick up everything so we call because we're supposed to call. And then it could be two weeks before they get here."
Inland Waste, a contractor hired by City of Memphis, handles Turpin's neighborhood and 20 percent of the Bluff City's garbage collection. Dissatisfied customers are piling up as fast as the trash piles, complaining to city hall and to the newsroom.
"It's depressing to come home from work to see all the trash cans lined up on the streets day after day," Lydia Henderson wrote in an email to WMC Action News 5.
"Yard waste removal is a joke," wrote Arthur Patterson, "with piles laying at the curb for a month."
"Someone needs to investigate the contractor who is collecting the money but not doing their job," Kay Speer said in her email to the station.
Mayor Jim Strickland promised results earlier in the week, and reiterated that promise Wednesday speaking with reporters.
"It is an unacceptable level of service," said Strickland, "and as mayor of this city, I take responsibility for it. The buck stops here, and we will make it right."
The city of Germantown fired Inland for its shoddy service several years ago. Memphis had to fine Inland more than $100,000 in 2016 for not meeting the terms of its contract with the city. Inland's current contract with Memphis expires next year.
"We are looking at all our options under the contract," said Strickland, adding that the city may fine Inland again if its legally possible to do so.
Back in the Riverwood subdivision, staring out at a sea of plastic bags and garbage carts, Mike Turpin thinks Memphis taxpayers deserve a clean start with a fresh trash company.
"I think it's a good idea," said Turpin, "as long as we get someone better. That's the key. We don't need another contractor who won't hold up its promises."
Strickland said curbside trash will get picked up by the end of the week. Inland says all yard debris, recyclables, and other waste will be gone by next Monday, April 23. City of Memphis crews are helping out, according to the mayor, and Inland is hiring an outside contractor of its own to get the job done.