MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis City Council members had a discussion on the policies and future enforcement of handling disposal and personal property left in front of homes in the city.

This came after Councilman Martavius Jones said he was walking his dog and spotted a large number of items set out on the curb in front of a home.

“Clearly this was an incident where a dumpster should have been secured by the property owner,” Jones said. “This trash was essentially the length of this lot.”

Jones also said in this case, it was not an eviction.

“So I do a little research and I find out that this was a tax sale,” he said. “So you have a new owner and they just said, ‘Hey, I’m placing all this stuff out on the street.'”

During the discussion, Jones included adding situations like that to the ordinance.

“I definitely think we ought to do something. I think people need to realize this freebie they’ve been having for a long time is time up. But how do we actually implement it to be fair across the board?” Jones said. “We have an ordinance right now on the books that says if the city comes by and we have to mow your lawn, then we can place a lean on it for the amount of doing so.”

Director of Public Works Robert Knecht suggested putting it in code and environmental responsibility, ultimately having a zero-tolerance policy. 

“I think now is the time, in partnership with solid waste, who is doing more tagging to become more aggressive with these violations,” Knecht said.

The need for educating the public was also emphasized. Tuesday’s discussion was just about making improvements. No ordinances or resolutions were formally put on the table. 

The council is expected to discuss more in two weeks.