EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - East Baton Rouge Parish leaders plan to start identifying and cracking down on tree services that fail to haul away the trees and limbs they cut down, instead passing on the expensive disposal cost to the city-parish.
Some tree services are leaving the "woody waste" by the curbs of the homes of their customers, hoping the city-parish will haul the debris away and pay the hefty fee to have a landfill accept the waste. That disposal fee, for just one large tree, can often be "several hundred dollars," a representative of Republic Services said during Wednesday's metro council meeting. Republic is contracted by the city-parish to haul away woody waste left in front of homes in the parish.
Richard Speer, director of environmental services for the city-parish, said during Wednesday's metro council meeting he gets reports "daily" of professional tree services leaving cut trees and limbs behind. Speer said when it's suspected debris has been left behind by a professional service, an inspector is sent out to investigate. However, he admits it's often hard to prove otherwise when homeowners say they cut the trees themselves.
Professional tree services often tell customers to falsely claim they personally cut the trees in order to lower the cost of the job, the Republic representative told the council.
The city-parish ordinance does not allow professional tree services to leave the debris behind. Instead, they are supposed to haul away the debris themselves and pay for the disposal of the debris.
Trees and limbs cut by homeowners themselves (or their family or friends who might assist) are hauled away by the city-parish at no charge, as outlined in the city-parish ordinance.