Question & Answer: Leaf pickup

I am going to try to occasionally add some information about questions that I receive along with my answers.  I know that even when I can’t give a good answer a response is still appreciated.  Unfortunately, I have heard far too many stories of elected officials not responding.  At the local level there is no excuse for that. Hear is a question about leaf pickup.

Question:

Dear Mr Wojcik,

I have lived in Rochester for the last 23+ years, moving from a suburb in the Detroit area.  Currently I live in SW Rochester.  Every fall with the change in weather the leaves fall and I rake them up.  Each season I probably take 35-45 bags (42 gal size) to the recycling center.  I remember growing up in the 50’s when we burned the leaves in the back yard.  That was later found to be environmentally unfriendly in the ’60’s, so they had a service where you swept your leaves to the curb/street where they were removed by the city 1-2 times per week with a large vacuum.  Last week my daughter had a volleyball game in Stewartville and we noticed the leaves being swept to the curb.  I spoke to a long time Stewartville resident who said that they’ve had that service for years.  Is there any plans to have this type of service for Rochester?  Has it ever been looked into?

Sincerely,

XXXXXXXXX

Answer:

XXXXXXXXX,

Unfortunately I don’t have many positive answers for you. Rochester got out of the municipal hauling business some years ago and now all waste hauling is private. I am not sure if this is also the case is Stewartville. I know that there has been some discussion with the private haulers about them adding pickup (though I am sure there would be a charge). The biggest issue that the city would have is that we don’t have the equipment to pick up leaves even if we were able to fund it.

At this point in time it is very difficult for cities to add services as we have proposed an 8% tax increase which will not even offset our costs and loss in state funds. We are struggling to continue to fund our parks, library, public safety, and streets, so until the situation improves I would not expect to add any new services.

I know this is probably not what you were hoping to hear, but it is my honest take on the situation. Thank you for writing.

Michael

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