Allegan city’s leaf, brush program readies to switch
The City of Allegan’s leaf and brush program is changing with a majority saying the new schedule will be better.
DPW crews in spring will now pick up curbside leaf piles by vacuum and separate brush piles from April 2 to May 11. In fall, curbside leaves will be vacuumed up the second week of October to Nov. 30. Brush will not be picked up during the fall leaf pickup.
The city will provide an area to drop off yard waste bags and brush throughout the year at the Public Works facility.
The city will announce special brush pickups after high wind storms.
Previously, the spring and fall leaf and brush program began in April and ended in October, with the city picking up loose brush and bagged yard waste during the first and third weeks of each month.
Council member Nancy Ingalsbee said she’d rather have the DPW hire another person than cut services to the public.
DPW director Aaron Haskin said his the department didn’t view the change as cutting services.
“Instead we are becoming more efficient at picking up residents yard waste, focusing on the spring and fall weeks,” he said. “This will free up man hours in the summer to focus on public improvements needed at our parks, cemetery, airport, buildings and grounds, streets and sidewalks.”
The DPW originally proposed the spring pickups for April 2-27, but added two more weeks.
Mayor pro-tem Rachel McKenzie said the new schedule encompasses 14 weeks of leaf and brush services and the old schedule also covered 14 weeks of pickup service.
The new schedule consolidates efforts. It is estimated the department spends 2,432 hours a year with the current process. Under the new process they are projecting to spend about 1,920 hours a year on the process.
In public comments, two people voiced their support for the new program. Steve Smalla said he liked the idea of not having leaves and brush sitting on the curb throughout the summer and didn’t see it as a reduction of services.
Matt Adams said he saw it as a positive change but suggested brush pick-ups on an exception basis for those who have mobility or transportation issues preventing them going to the drop off site.
Council members voted 6 to 1 in favor of the new leaf and brush program at the Feb. 26 council meeting. Ingalsbee voted for it after saying she wanted a letter going to every resident describing the new policy from A to Z.
Traci Perrigo voted down the new program preferring a summer-long pickup. She asked how the city would communicate with residents for brush pickups after high wind storms. Haskin said through the city website, Facebook, social media, and The Allegan County News he would look into piggybacking with local schools for robocalls.
Here are more specifics:
The City will pick up leaf piles and brush curbside in separate piles from April 2 to May 11 (the first full week in April through the second full week in May). If branches or debris are in the leaf piles, they will not be picked up. The leaves will be picked up with the leaf vacuums.
The leaf piles need to be within 3 feet of the edge of the road for the vacuums to reach. Leaf piles cannot be placed near utility poles, guy wires, hydrants, mailboxes or other obstructions. The leaves need to be placed close to the edge of the road, but cannot block storm drains which can cause flooding.
Brush must not exceed 4 inches in diameter and be from the property owner’s regular trimming and yard clean up, not from a contracted tree removal service. Brush piles are not to exceed the size of a pick-up sized load. Brush shall not contain trash, vines, building materials, dirt stumps or roots.
Beginning the second week of October to Nov. 30, the City will pick up leaf piles placed at the edge of the road with the leaf vacuums. Leaves raked to the curb after Nov. 30 will not be picked up; once the city passes down a street after Nov. 30, they will not return to that street. Snowfall will affect this schedule.
Brush will not be picked up during the Fall leaf pickup. Two leaf vacuums will follow routes to complete all streets and then repeat the same route until Nov. 30. Marshall, Western and Grand streets will be the first pickup on Mondays.
Yard Waste drop off:
The City will provide an area to drop off yard waste bags and brush throughout the year at the City’s Public Works facility at 691 Airway Drive. Yard waste bags must be paper bags and only contain grass leaves and other foliage, which will decompose in compost piles.
Brush cut by the property owner, fallen limbs and branches and Christmas trees may be dropped off for chipping. Branches must not exceed 4 inches in diameter.
Christmas Tree pickup:
Christmas trees will be picked up curbside beginning the first week of January as the weather allows.
The City will announce special brush pickups after high wind storms.
The spring clean-up program with general trash dumpsters on site for disposal will stay the same.