We are almost two weeks into fall, and although the weather feels more like early summer than early fall, before we know it the leaves will be falling. This year there is a major change to the way the Village will pick up leaves.
Earlier this year, my colleagues and I on the Board of Trustees voted to stop picking up leaves in piles along the curb, as has been done for many years. While it might seem like we voted to cut the services that we offer our residents, I’d like to think that we voted to spend your money more wisely.
Curbside leaf pickup is a highly labor and equipment intensive operation. Four and six man crews move their way around the Village during and after the regular workday, including weekends from October through the end of December. This operation, including the associated overtime, costs the Village nearly $40,000 annually, and even more when the cost of wear and tear on the heavy equipment is considered. When we voted to eliminate curbside pickup of leaf piles, we left a significant portion of this money in the budget to be used for much needed repairs to our aging infrastructure. This work includes repairs to catch basins, potholes, sidewalks, drainage, and backfilling of curbs throughout the Village. You may have noticed that this important work has already begun.
As leaders of your community, we felt that this money was better spent addressing the many pressing infrastructure concerns rather than chasing leaves. The good news is that there are other viable, and I would argue, better alternatives for picking up or disposing of leaves.
Option #1 - Mulch Mow
Many residents and our own Parks Department has been mulching for years with great results. In fact, the Irvington “Love 'Em and Leave 'Em” program has received awards and has been a model for Westchester County and beyond! Mulch mowing pulverizes leaves and feeds your lawn and garden. More information can be found at WWW.LELENY.ORG. Also, please attend one of the FREE mulch mowing workshops that will be held this fall. The workshop schedule will be finalized soon. There are very few situations where you cannot successfully mulch your leaves and leave them in place. Why not make 2014 the year you give it a try?
Option #2 - Bag/Can
The Village of Irvington will continue to pick up leaves when collected in biodegradable paper yard waste bags or containers. It is recommended that if you use a container, it should be open to allow the Village employee to easily determine that it is yard waste and not regular garbage. The container must be clearly marked "Yard Waste" or "Leaves". Materials must be placed curbside and not in the roadway. Pickup will occur throughout the week.
Option #3 - Transport
Landscapers and gardeners can transport and dispose of leaves and yard waste collected on your property. This is highly effective for larger properties that generate large amounts of leaves and yard waste.
This is a brief preview for the upcoming leaf season. Updated information will be continually posted at www.irvingtonny.gov/leaves.
I hope to see you around the Village, please never hesitate to contact me with thoughts and concerns.
Brian C. Smith, Mayor