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Greenburgh Looks at Leaf Collection

GREENBURGH, N.Y. – Town officials are considering a crackdown on loose leaf collection.

The Greenburgh Town Council will hold a public hearing Wednesday on a proposal that would require residents to bag their leaves during the autumn if they want the fallen foliage to be picked up by town workers.

Supervisor Paul Feiner said the motivation behind the proposal is threefold. It would save the town money in leaf collection while preventing safety and drainage issues, he said.

“It would help keep drains clear and avoid flooding,” he said Tuesday at the Town Board work session. “And it will help keep the streets clean. I see a lot of positives.”

In December, the town eliminated leaf pickup from the budget, a savings of around $147,000, according to various estimates.

Admittedly, the leaf collection process wasn’t very good, Feiner said. Weather often delayed the process, sometimes into the spring.

But now town officials are hoping to replace the curbside pickup with bagged collection. Bagged leaves won’t enter the drainage system and contribute to flooding, officials said. And with the new law, the town would pick up leaves every week, quickening collection times.

Feiner said he hopes the requirement will also encourage residents to mulch their leaves.

“It’s easy, inexpensive and good for lawns,” he said.

And many villages in the town, like Elmsford, already require residents to bag their leaves, and have done so with great success, he said.

But critics, including members of the Edgemont Community Council, have noted that, according to Edgemont resident Stuart Seeley, a financial executive with Morgan Stanley, eliminating leaf pickup may cost the average homeowner about $600 a year, in bagging and mulching costs.

Collectively, what residents spend on bagging or mulching “is actually closer to 30 times the Town's savings,” the council noted on its Facebook page.

The Town Council is anticipating a vote on the issue May 1.

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