Baxter Estates suspends leaf pickup

Baxter Estates residents can no long rake their leaves to the curb.

The village’s Board of Trustees announced Thursday that the leaf pick up would be suspended this fall.

“We’re the only village that still does this,” said Mayor Nora Haagenson. “We’ve been having a lot of trouble with vendors and leaf pickup.”

The village has been discussing the issue for some time and began to seriously consider ending the service last fall. Starting two years ago, groundskeepers from outside the village began hauling in leaves and dumping them in Baxter Estates.

“They would come after 5 p.m. when it was dark and drop heavily compacted leaves,” Haagenson said. “It was so densely compacted that the [leaf removal service] couldn’t even get them, he said it was like dealing with rocks.”

The village spent $38,000 on leaf removal last year, of which $7,000 went toward removing leaves that were hauled into the village from outside.

Things came to a head on Christmas Eve of 2017, when a resident called the acting Village Clerk (Chrissy Kiernan was on maternity leave at the time) and said he would come in and kill her if the leaves were not removed from in front of his house, village officials said.

For Haagenson and the rest of the trustees, that was the final straw, they said.

The board decided to try and see how the season went without leaf pickup in 2018, with the possibility that the service could return in the future. Haagenson said he village would do a street sweep at some point in December after the trees were bare.

Trustee Chris Ficalora said the village did not budget for the service this year and that the savings would be passed on to taxpayers.

To better enforce the no dumping, the village passed a local law requiring groundskeepers to register with Baxter Estates for a license.

All commercial groundskeepers will need to get a sticker from the village before they can start work, but the trustees stressed that the fee for the permit would be small: $25 or less.

The law does have some exceptions — high school students who cut grass would not be required to obtain a village license. The law will take effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

The trustees also passed a resolution to apply for a grant for security cameras and an additional light outside of Village Hall, the total cost of which would be about $1,875.

The village also broke with Dejana Industries to award the snow removal contract to Cow Bay Contracting, after their bid came in way under Dejana’s. The contract is worth $54,000 for 2018.

The village was required by the state to implement new sexual harassment policies and all employees will be required to take training.

Haagenson and the trustees ended the meeting by extending an invitation to all Baxter Estates residents to stop by Village Hall on Oct. 11 to celebrate the building’s renovation.

Reach reporter Luke Torrance by email at [email protected], by phone at 516-307-1045, ext. 214, or follow him on Twitter @LukeATorrance.

About the author

Luke Torrance

Luke Torrance is a reporter for Blank Slate Media covering the Port Washington area.
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