Village undertakes new leaf policy

By Joshua Keeran - [email protected]

MECHANICSBURG – Starting this fall, the village will no longer pick up loose leaf piles. Village Council on Monday approved a resolution of support for a new leaf collection policy that outlines three options residents now have for disposing of leaves on their property: bag, mow or transport.

Before council passed the resolution by a 5-0 vote (Council member Jodi Compton was absent), village resident Todd Boeck spoke out against the policy, saying he prefers the old method of the village picking up loose leaves at the curb.

“It would be a pretty big burden on us to have to bag the mountain of leaves we get off of our maple trees up on High Street,” he said. “I appreciate the fact the village has picked them up in the past, and I would be against not picking them up in the future.”

Council and administration responded to Boeck’s concerns by stating the new policy came about for a variety of reasons, including the condition of village equipment, lack of funding following the failure of several street levies, and cuts in village personnel.

“We haven’t just done this overnight,” Village Administrator April Huggins-Davis said. “We’ve been discussing it for a few years. We don’t have the manpower or womanpower from last year to be able to provide this service.”

As for the three options presented in the new leaf collection policy, for residents who choose to bag their leaves, the village will perform a weekly collection of bagged leaves as long as they are placed in a biodegradable paper yard waste bag and placed at the curb by 7 a.m. every Monday during the fall season. Such paper bags can be purchased at various local stores and garden centers. Leaves in plastic bags will not be collected.

As for the mowing option, the village’s leaf policy states, “mulch mowing is the environmentally-friendly alternative that provides healthy nutrients for lawns and garden beds.”

The third and final option included in the new policy gives residents the opportunity to bring their leaves to the village’s leaf compost on Railroad Street. The facility is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

The policy goes on to list the following reasons as to why the village decided to make a change to the way it handles leaf collection:

•Safety: Large piles of leaves on roadways create traffic and flooding hazards, obstruct sidewalks, and create slippery surfaces.

•Environment: Keeping leaves out of the storm drains and creeks keeps the village’s water resources healthier.

•Efficiency: Bagged collection is a quicker, more efficient operation, allowing for frequent collection.

•Cleanliness: Bulk collection leaves debris throughout the village for extended periods of time.

•Savings: Bagging saves the village’s limited resources for additional village priorities.

Keeping streets, storm sewer clean

In another leaf-related matter, council passed a ordinance prohibiting the disposal of leaves and other waste matter into the village’s storm sewer system.

The ordinance states, “disposal of leaves and other waste materials into the storm sewer system has caused numerous problems, including blocked drainage systems, damaged pumps, and flooding within the boundaries of the village.”

According to provisions in the ordinance, anyone found deliberately depositing waste materials into the village’s storm sewer system or recklessly placing such materials in the vicinity in gutters or curbs leading to the storm sewer can be charged with a minor misdemeanor, and each day of noncompliance will be deemed a separate offense.

Any person who is charged with violating the ordinance three times within a two-year period from the conviction date of the first offense faces a third degree misdemeanor charge, the ordinance states.

Fire chief addresses purchase order issue

In response to council’s decision on Aug. 1 to deny payment of a $2,674 purchase order for hose testing services already provided due to Mechanicsburg Fire & EMS not following the proper procedure for purchase order approval, Fire Chief Bob Keene addressed council and accepted full responsibility for the mishap.

“It was an oversight on me,” Keene said. “I’m the one who oversaw the PO not getting turned in in June. My captain had emailed me that FireCatt (Michigan-based company that provides fire hose testing services) would be here in July. I told him to go ahead and schedule it and I would get a PO turned in. Unfortunately, I spent a lot of vacation time with my family in June, and it was an oversight.

“It was squarely on my shoulders, no one else’s shoulders but mine,” he added.

Keene said to rectify the issue going forward, the department is putting an officer in charge of all purchase orders.

“Everything will be funneled through one guy,” he said.

Following Keene’s explanation on the matter, council once again put to a vote the purchase order request and approved payment of $2,674 to FireCatt for hose testing services.

“We weren’t trying to stick anybody with the bill, but procedures have to be followed,” Council member Charles Foss said to Keene. “I appreciate you taking the responsibility for that, and I appreciate the steps you are taking to correct that.”

In other business:

•The Water Department will perform hydrant flushing throughout the village beginning at 10 p.m. on Aug. 26.

•The village is waiting for test results to come back on well No. 1 before it can be put back online, Huggins-Davis said. The well recently underwent rehabilitation work.

By Joshua Keeran

[email protected]

Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.

Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.