Last year, we revealed the city planned to stop leaf pickup without telling anyone, and that sparked outrage.
The city reversed plans last year and went ahead with leaf pickup after the I-Team got involved, so we checked on what’s happening this fall.
Tax money pays for the service, and many folks depend on it.
After the firestorm last year, city leaders said they’d look at ways to expand the leaf pickup program, or at least make it better. So, we went back to City Hall.
We found no huge changes, but this year, there’s no question about city crews picking up leaves on your streets.
“As far as people and equipment, we’re locked and loaded. We have all the people that we need,” said Assistant Public Works Director John Laird.
Laird told us the leaf crews will hit the streets starting Monday — and they have a little new equipment.
“These new pieces of equipment are going to help us move a little bit more efficiently. Less downtime for us,” he said.
On Tuesday, on the west side, we already saw leaves piling up. We found Dave Wencil with a leaf blower creating piles at the curb.
“It’d be a treat if they came and picked them up,” he said.
But down the block, we met a woman who’d bagged up the first batch of leaves, not even waiting for city crews.
“I have no faith. Look at what they did last year. They weren’t even gonna pick em up,” she said.
Yet, you should start seeing signs in neighborhoods outlining when crews will be on those blocks. The city points out crews can’t hit all neighborhoods at once. But they’ll keep at it until late December, or until heavy snow falls. Only streets with the heaviest tree cover get leaf pickup.
However, this year, residents not in the pick-up areas can put up to 20 bags of leaves out for regular trash collection, the assistant public works director said.
In the meantime, at a city council hearing on Monday, Councilman Brian Kazy started asking about leaf pickup. Last year, he helped lead the fight to keep the program going.
And so did Councilman Michael Polensek. Polensek told us, he’s also keeping watch.
“It’s 2023. Let’s get on it. Let’s get this thing fixed with personnel, with equipment. Let’s move on,” he said.
On the streets, the first piles of leaves are popping up. But many trees still have a lot of leaves still hanging, so those first piles certainly won’t be the last.