MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Raleigh church that’s been cited by the city for trash dumped on its property argues that the dumping is not their fault, and they’re taking their fight to court.
Egypt Baptist Church has faced a problem of illegal dumping on its rural property for years. WREG covered the story as far back as 2012.
They were encouraged last year when the Problem Solvers helped get the issue fixed, but now it’s coming back to haunt them again.
City officials say the endless trash and dumping is on church property, so it’s the church’s responsibility. But church members say this is happening because Shelby County doesn’t offer trash pickup, and they are right by the city-county line.
Monday in environmental court, the church fought the citation.
“If they don’t have garbage pickup and they don’t wanna pay for it, they gotta dump their garbage somewhere,” Pastor James Holmes said in court.
Memphis code enforcement officers say they’ve issued citations, and they have evidence that the people cited live on the county side of the line.
But so far, city officials say they haven’t been able to connect with Shelby County on this problem.
For now, the city says it’ll help clean up the property, but church members say that’s not a permanent solution.
“The county needs to provide some kind of service to its residents,” said Sean Muizers, attorney for the church. “If they’re creating problems for other citizens then it is their responsibility to get something done to avoid having illegal activity going.”
Muizers said the church has an older congregation and keeping the property clean is a burden on the members.
The church will be back in environmental court next Monday. They say they hope to get a resolution at that hearing.
We’ve asked County Mayor Lee Harris’ office whether the county has plans to help, but have not yet heard back.