Trumbull Changing Leaf Pick-up, Adds PC Tracking

Early snow delayed pickup until March this past winter and left some residents out in the cold.

Trumbull is trying to stay ahead of Mother Nature after last year's problematic leaf collection.

According to a town press release:

"All main roads will be done first, starting on Monday, Nov. 7. That should take two full weeks. On Nov. 21, they will then start from the north end of town (since that’s when the leaves fall first) and continue south, one crew on each side of the Pequonnock Valley, until finished."

The statement urges residents to put their leaves at the curbline as soon as possible starting in the north, and them moving south. The progress of the pickup can be tracked online once it begins. Leaves cannot be left in the road, and violators will be fined $90.

To view Street Names, zoom to 300 percent or more and use the "Hand" tool to pan around the document in order to navigate to your street.

Weather conditions may interfere with the pickup.

In the past the town has rotated pickup by voting district. District 2 in the south part of town was one of the last ones scheduled.

The town also urged residents to compost leaves where possible. Residents in all districts may call for bagged leaf pickup throughout the program period – 452-5070 or 452-5071. All bagged leaves must be in paper bags or they will not be picked up. Use these same numbers for any questions or comments.

The change falls short for one Trumbull resident.

"Any first selectman who plans a major, visible public works project, in this case leaf pick-up, for the day before the election is interested in votes, not leaves," said Carol Hudak. "Last year's 'non-election year leaves' were still not picked up by March, and voters were upset. Notice he's beginning on the major roads. What uninformed or undecided voter traveling to the polls would miss the large orange PWD trucks as they picked up leaves? Leaves have barely hit the ground in my neighborhood, but again, we know this has nothing to do with leaves."

"This is simply more shameless pandering for votes, along with all day kindergarten and senior tax relief. Nice soundbites, but no substance. What a difference an election makes," she added.

Seniors without computer skills might not be able to access the progress tool, Hudak said.

Not for Henry Lee. "It sounds to me like they are making a concerted effort to better organize the process. The progress tool sounds like a nice feature and it’s a step in the right direction in terms of leveraging technology," he said.

"I am curious to see how those on main roads fare with an early leaf pickup (as I would think those on main roads may often have less space in their yard to dispose of leaves). The north to south concept makes sense (although it’s hard to imagine that 10 miles makes much of a difference)....This may mean they come a bit too early for me," he added.

Another resident thinks the collection could be starting too early. "The leaves are nowhere near to coming down. North, south, that doesn't mean a thing," said Bob Silva. "That costs the town a lot of money."

But he added, the workers who collect the leaves "do a great job."

"They keep the town great," he said.

Resident Steve Yusko said he now lives in a condo but his experience when he owned a house in Trumbull was positive. He liked the new idea.

"It's worth a try," he said.

Mark E Smith October 26, 2011 at 10:48 AM
Carol. What other time of the year does the leaves fall than in the Fall, the same time of year we have elections? Herbst has been in office for only on fall season, he learns the positives and negatives of the leaf pick up and now tries to implement better ways of doing this. How is that pandering? That is what leaders do. The town can't pick up the leaves in the Summer. This leaf issue is difficult do to its size, number of streets and weather considerations. I voted to have it removed due to cost, however I do see its benefit to some in the community and feel that it has always been run effectively even on the years where my leaves where picked up in the spring. Good job Tim for innovating and trying to make a difficult service better and bringing more information to the people of the town. Now they can coordinate their lawn services, their families and their weekends knowing where the town is in this process. Mark
Concerned Parent October 26, 2011 at 12:24 PM
I like the things I am reading about the new program, but execution is everything. Unfortunately for Tim, it appears that the leaf pickup will take place after the election, so even if this does improve the process we will not know in time to let it affect the vote. Obviously leaf removal is a lower priority issue, but how the leaves are handled this year would speak to how improvements are made in general.
louis October 26, 2011 at 01:16 PM
Two points, first, most leaves have yet to fall, many haven't yet turned colors, and its almost November, second, last year there was 2 feet of snow on the ground and all of it didn't melt till nearly April.
Concerned Parent October 26, 2011 at 01:29 PM
louis, it's a difficult situation. They have to wait until leaves fall or they have to deal with the risk of snowfall. It's a small window and a lot of ground to cover. I presume that leaves fall on different dates each year based on the weather, and it is possible to have a warm October with a quick change to snow and cold in mid-November. Ideally they would identify one week to pickup all of the leaves in the town at the same time - based on how many leaves were on the ground, but they lack the resources (trucks, workers) to do it all in one fell swoop. Another challenge is that the town wants you to keep your leaves on your lawn. This is fine when everything works as expected, but each of the last few years that has lead to big leaf piles on lawns until April, and/or bucket loaders scraping all of the grass off of the frozen lawns causing damage. I don't really have the answers, but I know leaf pickup has been a disaster in my neighborhood every year for the past 4 years. One year they came before any leaves fell (pointless), and the next 3 years it was damage to my property due to tardy pickup.
Concerned Parent October 26, 2011 at 01:31 PM
Having said all of this, replanting grass every Spring has been cheaper than hiring a leaf removal company (although that doesn't help with the ugliness of the damaged lawn)
Cindy Penkoff October 26, 2011 at 01:38 PM
I'm sorry Aaron, there are over 30,000 residents in Trumbull; you couldn't find someone to talk to that actually uses the service and wouldn't make this about politics? Enough already. I never use the service due to the configuration of my property, but I trust our public works director will be keeping a close eye on the project and make adjustments where necessary. I also hope they enforce the fines. The people in town that make the roads less safe by using them as a dumping ground, should be held accountable. I have yet to see that since I moved here 10yrs ago.
Concerned Parent October 26, 2011 at 01:45 PM
Cindy, I saw several non-political responses (although the first one was a bit extreme and probably not the best choice for a leading quote). As for the fines, the problem there is that the ineptitude of the leaf pickup program is what has triggered residents to put their leaves on the road. I believe the town realizes this and that is why they do not charge fees. As I mentioned, for several years I put my leaves on my lawn, as instructed by the town, and every year it backfired on me. The town said that the grass "would be fine", but in all cases it was not. One year they came when the ground was frozen (no snow), and used a bulldozer and literally scraped a 5 foot by 50 foot patch of my lawn off with a bucket loader. Another year they ran late, and when the ground thawed in the Spring they drove all over my lawn to "reach" the leaves and left massive tire paths (about 8 inches deep), and also the grass was all dead underneath and did not recover. I had to replant. With each passing year, I have wanted envied my neighbors who were smart enough to put the leaves on the road.
Florence Behanna October 26, 2011 at 07:01 PM
Boy, one is damned if you do and damned if you don't! We will hear the same complaints even if there is a new FS. Last year how could anyone have predicted when the leaves w/b picked up with the amt of snow we had! The trucks were needed to plow. We are lucky we live in a town that picks up leaves period! Give our town's workmen a break, they do the best they can. How is that solely the FS fault anyway? Those that are complaining, do they have a SURE FIRE SOLUTION that would please everybody, I doubt it.
Concerned Parent October 26, 2011 at 07:05 PM
Flo, these problems existed before the current FS. As far as I am concerned, he has a chance to improve the process. Unfortunately for him, he decided to start doing something about it too late (i.e. after the coming election), so he cannot win any points on this one. Tha plan alone doesn't ensure the system will work. The reason the trucks were needed to plow is because the leaf collection last year was extremely late and behind schedule. My neighborhood was scheduled to be picked up 3 weeks before the first snowfall, but they never got there and then the snow came. We don't elect the person in charge of this job, and that person is appointed by ... the FS. So who else would take the blame?
Bill Holden October 26, 2011 at 11:14 PM
I think the new plan makes sense. After doing the main roads start in the norther portions of town where the weather gets colder earlier (resulting in earlier "leaf fall"). Way back when Mayfair first opened, Elaine Hammers & I drove together to attend their opening. We both live near the golf course and it was amazing to me (and I think Elaine) that the grass was getting green "down there" due to the warmer temps. There was about a 2 week difference from Reservoir Ave to the northern part of town. The rotating schedule for leaf pick up almost always meant the northern parts of town had to wait until the snow season was done while other parts of town were "picked up" before all the leaves fell. The new plan seems better. We'll have to see how it works. Leaf fall is late this year due to all the rain, we're 14 inches above the 30 year average.
Alice Place October 27, 2011 at 02:06 AM
Different script, same strategy! We did not have an early snow last year! the leaf pickup was nehind for the first time in my memory and wetaher was not to blame. This was the first leaf pickup under the new public works director that hired by Herbst. The weather was so cooperative that we didn't have a trace of snow until December 26th. Given this, my in-laws were hopeful that before christmas the leaves would be picked up! then, teh first snow fall came on December 26th and didn't stop until early February. When everything melted by mid March, leaves were pretty much where they had been and ruined grass at the edge of the property. It wasn't until just before or after Easter that the town finally came to pick them up. Of course, no responsibility is taken only credit for a new plan. Same script, same strategy. I can only hope for a different cast!
Concerned Parent October 27, 2011 at 12:19 PM
I agree with Bill and Alice here. Agree with Bill that the plan of starting from the North and moving down does seem to be logical - but we will have to see how it works in practice. If the leaf pickup comes early every year before they have fallen, that would be worse than the previous approach. At least the annual rotation meant we in the North were only getting screwed half of the years. I am open to seeing how it works. I also agree with Alice. The onus for last year's leaf removal disaster was squarely on the town for running so far behind schedule. My leaves were scheduled to be picked up on Dec 7 ... but when the snow fell on Dec 26th they still were not at my house, and the weather was more than cooperative in December. From what I was told, the new program director was hired just as the leaf pickup started. On such short notice he decided to observe the process to make improvements, and this year's plan is the result of that. Take it with a grain of salt, however. I got this from the horse's mouth, but it was after the leaf pickup disaster had already occurred, so there was motivation to excuse the new PW director.


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