Friday, November 17, 2006

leaf collection ideas --alternatives to proposed law

I have some concerns about the proposed new law that would authorize summons to be issued for leaf piles on streets/sidewalks. These are some concerns:
1)The law will pit neighbor against neighbor.
2)The proposed law could be costly - everytime a summons is issued the officer/town employee who issued the summons will have to appear in court (which could include overtime).
3)The proposed law is impossible to enforce fairly. How can one be sure that the person who gets the summons was responsible for placing leaf piles in front of his/her house? It's possible that a neighbor had their landscaper put the pile of leaves on the neighbors house. How can we make sure that we're giving summons to the right party.
4)If different town departments are asked to enforce the law (police, public works) it's possible that some people may receive multiple summons from different departments - which will get people real angry.
5) We should step up efforts to encourage property owners to be good neighbors and to voluntarily place leaves off the roads.
NEW IDEAS--------------WHAT CAN BE DONE-------------
1)We should consider doing what Scarsdale started doing a number of years ago: paying landscapers a dollar figure for every load they dump at the dumpsite. This will reduce the amount of leaves our own highway department has to pick up.
2)If this is done the Town Board should license landscapers who work within the town.
3)The town should immediately take steps to increase the leaf collection process. We should contact our work force and offer overtime --increase the number of hours for leaf duty. NEGATIVES: If we require our workers to work 7 days a week and there is a snow storm in December - will our overworked & tired employees be able to do their snow removal duties at the level we expect? I would like the Board to authorize more overtime for leaf collection.
4)If our full time employees are not able to work more hours on leaf duty or if we still need additional help we should issue an RFP to private contractors to help the town with leaf collection duties. The private sector could assist our town employees. In the past we have been told that most of the contractors are busy during this season -- however, if we issue an RFP and reach out to the private sector we will know for sure.
The above are just some thoughts that I have. I'm posting this on the blog because I want to do the right thing -- and want your input.

34 comments:

Enough with the Bloviating said...

For crying out loud, stop with the pandering -- you're the supervisor: find out how much is needed and come Monday night authorize the additional money right now for emergency leaf pickups in Edgemont and the other unincorporated areas, and then move on to other business. This is far too important a matter of public safety for the Town to even think about shifting responsibility to homeowners, and this matter was debated ad nauseum the last time this came up. I realize you live in a gated community where leaves are taken care of by others. The right thing for you to do is stop blogging, get in your car, drive around town, see where the problems are most acute, and come up by Monday morning with a plan and the money to get the leaves picked up.

Anonymous said...

I really do not think the fact that Paul lives in a gated community has any relevance on this issue (and it has been brought up before). Just because Paul has no leaf-worries at Boulder Ridge does not mean he does not care about his constituents' leaf-problems...that is more like a personal attack on Paul and it is wrong.

I do think that rather than fight about it, the DPW should start removing leaves...it is the middle of November already and not a single leaf has been removed! Take a drive around Joyce Road, Westway, Eastway, Arden, etc and you will see huge mounds of leaves that are (a) killing everyone's grass, and (b) causing unsafe driving conditions.

I would really like to know what DPW is waiting for, and why they have not done any leaf pick-ups yet.

Anonymous said...

Hey, if Feiner can get the leaves picked up, I don't care if he lives in a gated community or the local jail.

Anonymous said...

What's so hard about bagging leaves? Yes, it's more work for the homeowner, but they stay put that way, and don't kill the grass. Many communities require bagging. Just do it and get it over with!

Anonymous said...

I don't think this is a major issue for the Town. I underatand the Police Advisory Board raised the issue but I don't think they represent the people. I don't believe we even have an issue. I absolutely do not support the new law nor any extra money being devoted to fixing the problem. So what if the leaves stick around in piles for a few weeks or even a few months. Where are the statistics that say this leads to acidents? People in this Town will be outraged if they are fined and they should be. Let's put with it and not spend extra money in fixing a non-issue.

Anonymous said...

I was pleased that after Supervisor Feiner released this blog the other Town Council members decided to postpone the public hearing that was scheduled for this Monday. Good work, Paul! The leaf law made wasn't thought out.

Anonymous said...

It's November 17th, and the DPW hasn't started its leaf pickup duties anywhere in the town?!

It's silly to have this on the Town Council's agenda now anyway. By the time any new law would be in effect, snow will be covering the leaves. Hold this topic until the springtime. The budget is the top priority now.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Supervisor Feiner for persuading the Town Board to delay consideration of this poorly worded and ill conceived law. THe blogger who said "enough with bloviating" should be grateful that you give angry people an outlet to release his/her stresses in life.
Your alternatives to the proposed law make good common sense.

Anonymous said...

The guy who made the comment about Feiner bloviating was right on the money. There's a serious safety problem out there with the leaves, leaf pickups don't seem to be happening when they should, the police chief says there are accidents waiting to happen,and the suggestion that Feiner get authorization for any additional money needed sounded like a logical, common sense thing for him to do. Maybe the blogger's tone was a bit harsh, but without a good swift kick in the you know where, this will become yet another problem that doesn't get solved.

Judith Murphy said...

Oh for goodness sake. Why is it the towns resposibility to vacuum up piles of leaves? Put the darn things in the large paper bags and pick them up on Friday's (at least in my neighborhood) like they used to. If you have a gardener then I would guess you can afford to supply the bags or pay them a little more to provide them. The leaves from our yards should not be the town's responsibility when they are not contained properly for removal. Those unsightly and dangerous piles should be banned. If this is the biggest problem the town of Greenburgh has then count your blessings. We could be in New Orleans.

Anonymous said...

There is a leaf problem out there. There's a leaf collection problem all over NY. Leaves fall all at once and the town can't collect all the leaves immediately. The proposed alternatives suggested by the Supervisor are a step in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

What do the Villages do?

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with the people of Greenburgh? leaves should be the responsibility of the home owner.They should be put into bags and then they can be picked up. This was done years ago and it worked,t6he leaves piled in the street are dangerour,come to South Manor Drive a two lane road has now become a one lane road.The leaves are slippery and trhere will be an accident that should not happen. Lets get off our duffs and do what is right.

Anonymous said...

Do you honestly think by requiring homeowners to do the work of DPW you will eliminate leaves on the street? No, there will always be leaves. There are trees on the right of way -- it is not the homeowners responsibility to pick up those leaves.

I think the Town should post on the website the names of all the people on the Police Advisor Committee. I want to know the names of the people who want to put more work on homeowners.

To the people who say -- the homeowners should do this -- they did it years ago. Well I say, for the taxes we pay, we can get some services.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the town email below ... Smart move. Work on the budget first.


----- Original Message -----
From: Towncouncil
To: gblist@cit-e.net
Sent: Friday, November 17, 2006 4:54 PM
Subject: Leaf law


The public hearting on the “Leaf Law” scheduled for the Town Board meeting on Monday, November 20, 2006 at 7:15 p.m. will be adjourned until a later date. Police Chief John A. Kapica requested the Town Council take this action to give him more time to fully examine the law as currently written.

Anonymous said...

I agree that enough is enough! Concentrate on examining the budget and simply provide the long overdue leaf collection services.

Anonymous said...

Supervisor Feiner's ideas are good ones. Like the idea about paying landscapers to drop off loads of leaves. This is a common sense suggestion that could reduce the leaf piles around the town.

Enough talk already said...

Leaf collection is so bad in my neighborhood this year that the school bus that picks up my kids got two flat tires within the past 10 days as it tried to pull over to the side of the road by the curb (which was hidden by the leaves)and each time seems to have hit some off-road obstruction that was also hidden by the leaves. I've never seen leaf pick up this bad before. If extra money is needed to get this taken care of, please find out how much is needed and authorize it. This endless debate about shifting responsibility to homeowners, their gardners, etc., isn't solving anything right now.

dano said...

Why isn't the DPW doing its job? If the DPW were a corporate department, the entire managerial staff would have been fired many times over. Their services (or lack thereof) are the only really lousy thing about living in Unincorporated Greenburgh.

Good idea putting off any discussion of new laws. But another idea for when it comes up again: Other municipalities would gladly accept payment for doing what Greenburgh's DPW won't. Yonkers, for all its woes, has an awesome DPW, and I bet they'd jump at the chance to increase revenue by doing Edgemont's leaf pickup. Maybe White Plains or Mount Pleasant would do Fairview's, and MAYBE the Greenburgh DPW could at least handle Hartsdale.

Anonymous said...

I am one of the few homeowners on my street that does my own landscaping. I have relied on the Town's leaf pickup, as bagging hundreds of bags of leaves in the fall would be time consuming and costly for me.
Could the law be ammended to limit the piles, i.e. require commercial landscapers to haul their leaves to the dump like they do in the Spring, and only allow homeoners to make the piles? (tickets could be issued to gardners who make the piles, not the homeowner who is found with a pile in front of their home or the Town could limit piles on primary roads). I know there are strong opinions on both sides of the argument, but there is also room for compromise...

Anonymous said...

Communication: Neighborhood leaf pick-up schedule notification perhaps via the cable TV channel and the town e-mail or via E-List would help the homeowner who is making a good effort to keep things picked up. Let's use the technology.
Smart Pick-up: There is no one-size fits all approach in a town this big. On school streets and other busy streets cars swerve around leaf piles recklessly. Those streets need more attention.
The reality is that bagging leaves does not solve the problem either. We have had as many as 29 bags of leaves in front of our house for 3+ weeks at at time. When the DPW redirects their staff to the large leaf collection vehicles the crews that generally collect yard waste do not pick up bags. There is just not enough DPW staff.
Improvement will come with a combination of better communication to the communities, reaching out to private contractors (like Scarsdale) as the Supervisor suggested and smart pick up on busy streets and school streets.

Anonymous said...

I access Park Avenue (Greenburgh) on a daily basis, and it is horribly dangerous this time of year because of the leaves, and when it isn't cleaned up stays horrendously dangerous with snow and ice on top of it. While I understand the annoyance of bagging leaves, until this issue is resolved someone has to be responsible for this road!! if the town isn't taking responsiblilty right now, unfortunately the home owner must, or pay a fine....which ultimately may be a lesser fine in the long run.....do we have to have a death force us to resolve this issue?!

Anonymous said...

I am fortunate enough to have a summer home where there is no garbage or refuse (leaves) pickup except at the homeowners own expense. We take all to the transfer station and leaves are recycled so we can get composted top soil. Our paper, cans, bottles, etc are dumped in appropriate bins and when full are trucked out and sold. Garbage is also trucked our to a landfill.
While the difference may be size and land availability, it is a system that works well and has won awards for the efficiency and thrift.
Greenburgh should have a transfer station where we could dispose of the yard waste and it should be composted.
Fines wont work as people are likely to use a " midnight" dump to get rid of yard waste.
Also leaves must be removed before the first snowfall as the plowed combination of wet leaves and snow creates a bigger mess.

Anonymous said...

I am fortunate enough to have a summer home where there is no garbage or refuse (leaves) pickup except at the homeowners own expense. We take all to the transfer station and leaves are recycled so we can get composted top soil. Our paper, cans, bottles, etc are dumped in appropriate bins and when full are trucked out and sold. Garbage is also trucked our to a landfill.
While the difference may be size and land availability, it is a system that works well and has won awards for the efficiency and thrift.
Greenburgh should have a transfer station where we could dispose of the yard waste and it should be composted.
Fines wont work as people are likely to use a " midnight" dump to get rid of yard waste.
Also leaves must be removed before the first snowfall as the plowed combination of wet leaves and snow creates a bigger mess.

Anonymous said...

I like the suggestion by Supervisor Feiner to pay landscapers to dump leaves at the dump site. We should also provide the same financial incentives to homeowners who bring their leaves to the dump site. Good out of the box thinking!

Anonymous said...

like the campaign signs issue, it's unwise to have these discussions during their seasons when emotions run higher ... discussions about leaves and campaign signs are best during the springtime ... the town's main focus right now needs to be the budget

Anonymous said...

This is the time to focus on leaves. I like the supervisors suggestions. Makes more sense for the town to take responsibility for leaves than to look to blame residents for leaves on the streets by issuing fines. I hope the Town Council does the right thing and that they get it right!

Anonymous said...

I am concerned because gardeners often blow leaves from one house onto another person's property so that they impinge on the roadway in front of a house that had no responsibility for the way the leaves were piled and then scattered. thus, even if you are ensuring that your own gardener stays on your property, your neighbor's leaves exceed the property limit. additionally, it is sometimes impossible without a survey to determine whose property has the leaves overflowing, when the pile spans a border between two houses. I think the solution is better and more frequent pick-up - not penalties for homeowners and ensuing animosity between enighbors.

Anonymous said...

"There is just not enough DPW staff."

There's plenty of staff and equipment. The DPW just needs a professional operations manager to orchestrate.

Anonymous said...

Our town staff does a good job. The problem is that all the leaves fall down within a short period of time. It's difficult to remove all the leaves at once. The above poster doesn't know what he/she is talking about.

Anonymous said...

Actually, "the above poster" (me) knows quite precisely what he's talking about. Yes, the leaves fall quickly. A feasible system to effectively handle this reality could have been in place.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of opinions here. All these folks must have lots of data I don't. To comment intelligently, I'd need to know what criteria determine when and how often leaves are picked up. Can extra collection trips reasonably be made on problem streets (busy or narrow)?

Piles of leaves are much smaller if you run a lawnmower over them before piling them up -- this reduces the volume by a factor of four or five. Does it make sense to allow mulch piles but not the much larger unmulched leaf piles?

In some places, leaves could be kept off the street at the cost of killing the grass if they aren't picked up fairly often, but other places, there is no off street place to put them for pickup. How should that be handled? And what about the leaves that naturally fall in the street?

What was it the wag said? "For every complex human problem, there is a simple solution, and it is wrong."

Anonymous said...

Good ideas. I hope the Town Council acts on the Supervisors suggestions.

Anonymous said...

How about keeping a better eye on the landscapers, who blow leaves all over the place and in many instances, create a safety hazard while doing so.


Here's some more:
http://x635.blogspot.com/2006/11/landscapers-can-blow-leaves-anywhere.html