Memphis residents remain frustrated with slow lawn debris pickup as mayor personally apologizes for service delay

Memphis residents remain frustrated with slow lawn debris pickup as mayor personally apologizes

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The City of Memphis continues work to clear a backlog of lawn debris pickup, some of which has been out since Thanksgiving. And while some residents say progress has been made, others tell us city crews need to move faster.

“We’re frustrated, and nobody’s happy about it,” said Beverly Zeiner.

Zeiner said she’s at her breaking point with the lawn debris in front of her home on Manila Avenue in midtown Memphis. Zeiner said she’s had limbs on the sidewalk since before Thanksgiving, and the bagged leaves from her neighbors shortly followed.

Now after sitting for weeks, many of the bags are full of water and torn open.

Zeiner said she’s filed 311 complaints with the city to no avail.

“I’ve done four in the past two months this has been here and nothing’s been resolved,” Zeiner said.

On Friday, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland started his weekly update email with the words, “I apologize.”

Strickland vowed to resolve the lingering issues with leaf and lawn debris collection. The mayor said weather is to blame, as all the leaves this autumn fell at once, and a warm December lent them to being bagged. Strickland wrote city crews will work overtime through weekends to complete collection, and additional contractors have been hired.

“I’m not this kind of person, and I don’t like being this kind of person. But I think the principle here is nothing’s being done, and the taxpayers are paying money for this,” said Renee Fernandez.

Fernandez told WMC Action News 5 that nothing was happening when she opened a 311 ticket, so she called the mayor’s office last week since lawn debris had been sitting in her Cordova neighborhood for months.

Fernandez said she was stunned when city officials showed up at her door this weekend to pick it up and apologize. Then Sunday morning the mayor came by helping crews collect debris in the neighborhood.

“He said, we’re not going to let this happen again, and he was just very kind, very kind,” she said.

Fernandez said she was impressed by the city’s response and plans to give them the benefit of the doubt. But she doesn’t want it to happen again.

The city said its goal is to have all lawn debris and leaves picked up by the end of January.

City officials speak on Memphis trash delays

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