SHELBY COUNTY, TN (abc24.com) - It could crack down on blight and illegal dumping. That’s the good news. The bad news is it could be more expensive.
The Shelby County Commission is considering a trash pickup proposal for people living in unincorporated parts of the county. The idea has been kicked around for years, but is finally getting legs.
About 500 tons of trash is unloaded at illegal dumpsites in Shelby County every year.
Supporters of the proposal say whether or not that continues hinges on a countywide trash service. Opponents say there has to be a better solution.
“We've had over 300 illegal dumpsites in Shelby County in 2010,” said Public Works Director Tom Needham, who is pushing the trash pickup proposal.
About 12 percent of residents don't have a pickup service. Many of those who do could end up paying more for the county's plan, estimated at $25 per household.
“First of all I don't even know if it's legal for us to mandate people doing this and here we are trying to punish 90 percent of the people for what 10 percent are not doing,” said Shelby County Commissioner Chris Thomas.
Thomas contends the focus should be on stopping illegal dumping, not forcing people to buy a service.
“What if they want to keep the company they're happy with? Here we're going to tell them you've got to choose this company,” Thomas said.
The trash pickup plan would divvy up 10 areas of Shelby County among four trash collection companies and a few small businesses.
If the Commission approves the proposal, residents in unincorporated Shelby County will begin paying for trash pickups next March.