I just wanted to provide you with a status of where we are with leaves at this point in the season. As of last Friday, we collected 20,295 yards or 58% of the total yardage typically collected for the entire season. Compared to last year at this time, we have collected 6,300 yards or 18% more. This is directly related to the heavy dropping of leaves we had about 1 ½ weeks ago after the rain storm.
As a result of the above, it has been taking us a little longer (about two extra days) to finish up in an area and begin the next area. In previous communications, I have mentioned that we have had some operational issues with the new contractor we are using in Area B – although we are still monitoring him closely, he has picked up double the amount at this point in the season than last year’s contractor. Another interesting factoid is that Area B is responsible for about 35% of the total leaves that have been picked up this season.
Net-net this makes collection more cumbersome for the present time, but bodes well for the remainder of the season as the bulk of the leaves are down or have been collected; therefore the last weeks of collection should be easier. Please bear with us, as we do our best to clean up as much volume as possible before the Thanksgiving holiday. As a reminder, we will be doing a last go through after your final collection date, weather permitting. For residents who like to bag their leaves, free bags are still available for pick up at the Recycling Center.
On to another topic: violations of the leaf collection policy. As you know, we listened to you last year when you reported that your biggest issue was neighbors placing leaves out on the street outside of the permitted schedule. This is just not a safety issue and a violation of our ordinance but it is also a violation of NJ State regulations that mandate leaves cannot be put out more than 7 days prior to the scheduled collection date.
As a result, this season we started active compliance monitoring of the various areas. I think I mentioned in an earlier E-Notice that we saw a large number of violations the first weeks of the season supporting the views that you have been sharing with me. On my own block, I witnessed leaves being placed in the street two days after the collection period! We made a decision not to write summonses at that point but to issue warnings. This was also due to the fact that this violation required an in court appearance, a burden we did not want to place on our residents.
Now that we are almost through the second cycle of leaf collection, we are issuing summonses and there will unfortunately be many of them. The only fortunate news is that the Court Administrator successfully petitioned to remove the requirement for an in-court appearance.
Ridgewood is a very leafy town – we collect between 32,000-35,000 yards of leaves across 95 miles of roads – a real challenge when coupled with the vagaries of weather. I would like to continue to hear your input on enforcement as well as any other suggestions that you may have for better service. Some of you may have seen our new claw which we just introduced and which seems to be working very well - we plan on adding a second one for next leaf season. Also next season, we will also be getting a new leaf vacuum that is significantly better than the ones we are using. We did a post mortem of last season and we will do one this season – we do bring your suggestions and thoughts to those forums.