City wrapping up leaf-collection efforts, eyeing improvements for next year
Special to SVLfreenews.com
The City of Statesville’s leaf season is coming to an end – about four weeks later than usual because of Mother Nature and several equipment issues that kept the crews behind since November.
Residents who still have loose leaves on the curb for collection are asked to report their address by calling 704-878-3415. The leaf crews will continue to work as needed for a few more weeks.
Leaves that are placed in bags on the curb are picked up year-round.
At the recent City Council retreat, Public Works Director Scott Harrell unveiled a plan to reduce the potential for significant collection delays in the future. His plan includes establishing alternate dump sites for leaf disposal, budgeting additional hours for leaf collection workers, modifying existing equipment, and purchasing additional leaf collection equipment.
Even though leaf season is over, Harrell will request that the City go ahead and purchase a new automated leaf collection truck so that the vehicle will be delivered in time for the 2018 leaf collection season in October.
“We had included an automated leaf collection truck in our budget requests for next year, but ordering one now will make it available for this coming fall,” Harrell said.
The automated truck is anticipated to cost between $180,000 and $225,000. The City currently has one automated truck.
“The automated trucks require fewer employees and operate more efficiently than the other equipment,” Harrell explained.
The other equipment requires several employees to rake the leaves to the leaf machine, which empties them into the back of a truck. When the trucks get full, the crews have to drive the truck to the landfill to empty it.
Harrell believes that establishing dump sites that are located closer than the landfill and are available outside of the landfill’s operating hours will allow the crews to add roughly two hours of work time each day. He will ask for additional funds to cover the longer work hours in the 2018-2019 budget.
Due to the nature of leaf collection, much of the equipment used requires frequent maintenance and repair. Harrell said he will work with the City’s Fleet Manager to identify any modifications that can be made to the City’s existing equipment and vehicles to increase their durability.
As for Mother Nature, there’s not much the City can do about that, said Harrell. Many of the leaves fell at the same time and rainfall and winter weather also slowed down the pick-up.
“But what we can do is have the people and equipment in place so that it doesn’t take as long to catch up,” he explained.