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Greenburgh To Bag Leaves This Fall

GREENBURGH, N.Y. – The town of Greenburgh is cracking down on the collection of loose leaves.

Greenburgh Town Council members unanimously approved a resolution Wednesday that requires residents to bag their leaves in autumn if they want them picked up by town workers.

“I believe bagging our leaf piles will have a lot of positive impacts,” Supervisor Paul Feiner said after the vote. All of the villages in Greenburgh already require residents to bag their leaves and have done so with great success, Feiner said.

The town hopes that the change in collection will prevent safety issues with dangerous leaf piles in the streets and keep the fallen foliage from clogging storm drains.

Officials hope the change will also streamline and speed up collections, Feiner said. For years, leaf pickup has been the target of resident complaints, he said, because bad weather often delays the process, sometimes into the spring.

Also, the town said it will see significant savings with the change. In 2012, the town budgeted $71,000 toward leaf collection overtime, according to Director of Public Works Victor Carosi.

The hope is that with the combination of bagging and mulching, the town will experience savings on hauling costs, Carosi said.

"I think that really, what we have to learn, is that with the continued financial crisis we have, people have to rethink how to redo everyday tasks,” he said.

Critics have pointed to the increased cost for residents and the inconvenience of bagging or mulching leaves as opposed to simply sweeping them to the curb.

Edgemont resident Stuart Seeley, a financial executive with Morgan Stanley, said the average homeowner may pay about $600 more a year in bagging and mulching costs.

But in an effort to limit the inconvenience for some residents, Feiner said he hopes to begin a volunteer program to help elderly and disabled residents bag their leaves.

Councilman Francis Sheehan said residents who put leaf piles in the street will receive a summons. If the problem is resolved within 48 hours, however, they will not have to pay the fine.

The change is expected to be implemented this fall.

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