Yard debris ordinance revised

Published 5:06 pm Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

MURFREESBORO – Following previous discussions and a unanimous vote on Tuesday, Apr. 16, the Murfreesboro Town Council approved amendments to their yard waste collection ordinance to include a new monthly fee.

The town offers curbside pickup of yard waste – also known as yard debris – for its residents. That debris is taken to a town site that must follow state regulations to maintain its permit to operate.

In previous meetings, the council discussed the high costs required to regularly clean up the site, and problems that occur when people include yard debris that they cannot process.

To address the issue, the council agreed to make changes to Murfreesboro’s ordinance.

Town Attorney Cecelia Jones presented a first draft of the amended ordinance to the council in March, made revisions, and then presented it again at April’s meeting.

The amended ordinance includes definitions of what yard waste can be collected by the town. Those items include grass clippings, shrubbery clippings, dead leaves and pine straw, and “tree limbs not to exceed four feet in length and six inches in diameter. This does not include whole trees or stumps.”

The ordinance also notes that collections shall not be made from vacant lots, and the town will not collect large rocks, tree trunks, tree stumps, sod, dirt, appliances, furniture, building materials, or other heavy materials. The town also will not collect yard debris material produced by any contractor.

For yard waste to be collected, citizens must place the materials behind the curbing and not in the street or gutters. If placed in a container, it must be clearly marked “yard debris.”

For any violations, a $150 fine will be imposed.

The ordinance adds a monthly yard waste fee of $7.50 per customer, residential and commercial, that is imposed to recover the costs of the yard waste disposal. The fee will be included and collected on each customer’s monthly utility bill.

Jones suggested that the council add “Effective July 1” so that the updated ordinance will begin in the new fiscal year. That way citizens will have advanced notice about the changes.

“Communication is key,” agreed council member Jay Revelle.

Council member Mike Bunch said they needed to make sure to spread the word about the ordinance.

“They need to understand the amount it’s costing the town to have debris ground up and hauled off. And it’s all done by state guidelines. We don’t have any choice,” Bunch explained.

Town Administrator Carolyn Brown noted that the town’s most recent bill from Shavender, which cleans up the yard debris site, was for $15,000.

Revelle motioned to approve the amended ordinance, including the July 1 effective date, and Berna Stephens seconded. The vote was unanimously in favor.

Later in the meeting, Jones gave the council an update on their project to update and digitize all of Murfreesboro’s ordinances, which has been ongoing for more than a year. The council received a first look at the revised book of ordinances.

Once it is approved at a future meeting, Brown stated that citizens will be able to access a copy of all of Murfreesboro’s ordinances on the town’s website.