So, we dug into it with new questions about the City of Cleveland’s leaf pick-up program.
Many of you depend on the program, and the new video comes to light as some taxpayers are also wondering why their street hasn’t been done yet.
This week, on the far west side, a FOX 8 viewer captured a snow plow pushing leaves into other heavy construction equipment. Crews, then, dumped the leaves into a truck to be hauled away.
Multiple people have asked us why city crews are picking up leaves like that.
Sam Oliver, a west side taxpayer, also wonders. He said he saw a small army of city crews with a plow and heavy equipment and wanted to know what was happening.
“Honestly, I didn’t have any clue,” he said. “I thought they were probably cleaning the sewers or checking on the fire hydrants.”
Last month, the city first said crews would not pick up leaves from your curbs.
The I-Team reported that. Then, within days, the mayor reversed course.
The leaf pick-up program is only for people in sections of the city with the most trees, but crews have not yet hit all streets in the program.
Again, they’re often using plows and construction equipment instead of a vacuum machine.
Councilman Brian Kazy also expressed a loss of patience this week.
“We would have thought that within the first month of the program we would’ve at least been able to get through the first pass-through of the city,” the councilman said.
We went to Cleveland Public Works Director Frank Williams to ask about the plows and heavy equipment to collect leaves.
Williams said crews have always done it that way if they don’t have a big vacuum available.
The mayor’s office says the city has eight of the big vacuum units, but three of them are out of service.
So, we wondered when we might see them repaired and back on the streets.
The city says one unit will never get repaired. Instead, that one is now getting scrapped. The timetable for repairs of the others has not been determined.
“We use a myriad of equipment regardless. You’re probably seeing a leaf vac as well as a snow plow pushing leaves, as well,” Director Williams said.
Williams says, within a week, crews should be finished making at least one pass on all routes.
“Except for starting a week late, there’s nothing different that the residents are seeing this year opposed to any other year in the past,” Williams said.
But, some of you also point out what’s left behind after heavy equipment picks up leaves. Cell phone video shows streets scraped up. So, we also asked about that.
“Those are the same pieces of equipment used to plow the street, as well. And, sometimes, there may be some damage to the street, but we’ll repair those as we’re able,” the public works director said.
Taxpayers tell us they deserve the service even if their leaves are just getting picked up in mid-December with snow plows.
“They are raising taxpayers’ money, you know? It just doesn’t make sense to me,” Oliver said.
The wild card is the weather. If we suddenly get some regular snowfall, the leaf pick-up program will end, right then.