Memphis resident Christopher Sanders said he and his friends help trim the trees at his parents' home every year, leaving the limbs out with the trash for pick-up.
"I've never received a bill," said Sanders.
This year, Sanders was cited by the City of Memphis for leaving out tree limbs larger than allowed by city ordinance. He added that the city suspected he used a contractor to reach limbs high on the trees and also cited him for using a contractor.
Andy Ashford, Deputy Director of Public Works and Waste Management, said, "If a contractor is involved or they hire someone to do the work, then the contractors are required by city ordinance to haul that material off."
Sanders left the debris for the City of Memphis to pick up. He said within a week the city cleaned it up; they sent him a bill for $800.
Before receiving the bill, Sanders had various contractors evaluate how much it would cost to haul off the limbs, but it was far less than the city charged.
"To get bids for $300 or $400 and then to turn around and get a bill from the city for double, looks like the city's trying to do some fundraiser," said Sanders.
According to Ashford, there is no "base pay" for this fee; it is all based on the amount of work done. Ashford added, "Depending upon the number of trucks and where it has to go and how much it costs to dispose of it will dictate how much the cost is. You're going to have to think in terms of the man hours perhaps up to three people."
Sanders does not mind paying a reasonable fee, but said he wants the city to better educate its residents about the fines.
"I would be willing to pay the $300 to $400 since I was the one who came over and established the work at my parents' home," he said, "When I did the job originally I would've hauled it away through any of those companies; definitely not the City of Memphis."
To avoid any waste management fines, read over the requirements listed on the City of Memphis website.