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Leaf Collection Compliance 'Unbelievable,' Gabbert Says

Few summonses have been issued to those placing branches in the leaf piles, Village Manager Ken Gabbert reported at the Wednesday council meeting.

As you drive up and down Ridgewood's streets, you might notice there are a heck of a lot of branches peeking out of leaf piles.

The council and administration has made clear they find the appearance of branches in piles distressing due to the safety issues. So distressing they were A-OK with .

But with the widespread devastation in Ridgewood courtesy of Hurricane Sandy, officials say they've overall had a solid level of compliance given the circumstances.

“There's been tremendous cooperation even though it looks like there’s a lot on the street,” Village Manager Ken Gabbert said Wednesday night. According to Gabbert, the sights were far worse following last October's freak snowstorm.

That said, there have been some violators who received a notice indicating they had 48 hours or else a summons would be forthcoming.

“The compliance has been unbelievable,” Gabbert said. "I can’t say if there’s even been five summonses issued.”

Branch piles should be brought to either the Recycling Center on E. Glen Ave. or confined to a section on one's property. The village lost close to $80,000 last year due because branches disrupted leaf mulching.

JV November 11, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Which brings up the issue of those branches. What is the plan for their removal? Are residents expected to leave them in place until they can be cut, by us, into pieces to fit into bags for yard waste pickups - next spring? Are they eventually being picked up by village crews in recognition of the fact that this has been a massive alteration to the usual amount of autumn tree and shrub debris? Do the manager and council actually expect that residents are all going to start hauling everything to the recycling center? Information about this would be very helpful so that we can know if we should expect to see mounds of limbs and branches lining our streets and creating lovely snowscapes throughout the winter.
RdgwdGRock November 11, 2012 at 03:43 PM
what a joke. what compliance? gabbert and his minions are ignoring the many leaf piles (that I see around town) that continue to have branches. plus, the leaf piles violate the 7-day rule.
Harlan Consider November 11, 2012 at 05:19 PM
JV, yes, it is your responsibility to clear your own tree debris. I did, so I do see why I should now subsidize you and others who somehow think it's the Village's job to do it. If you can't haul it there yourself, pay someone. It really isn't that much.
Craig Hueneke November 11, 2012 at 05:39 PM
I don't think it's that people don't want to comply with bringing it to the recycling center. I personally think it's the fact of how to get it to the recycling center. Some people don't have a car large enough or choose not to turn their cars into work trucks, and on that side, I can respect that. For the most part I feel that those who have the ability to haul their own stuff have and those who don't are doing their best. Let's face it, this was one hell of a mess around here and the Village as a whole (the operational side and the residents)is doing a GREAT job. Let's not turn this into a finger pointing session. There is a great better response this time around that last year's freak (or not so freak as of the last two years) snow storm.
JV November 11, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Thanks for sharing your unsolicited and somewhat arrogant opinion. If you read what I wrote, I was asking the question so that everyone was made aware of what is expected. It's interesting that you turned it into an issue of what you were able to do and what therefore should and should not be expected of and done by everyone else. I don't presume to know your physical or financial circumstances, so please don't presume to know mine or anyone else's. And what exactly is the job of any governing body during a time of crisis or extraordinary situations? Is it to tell us who to blame and to remind us to make sure we obey all the rules or risk being punished, or is it to provide leadership and stability to allow everyone to regroup, recharge, and move forward? By the way - the wording of your second sentence suggests that you actually would pay for others in town to have their debris removed. I suggest that your words reflect well the general confusion that make it reasonable for the village manager and our elected leaders to remember that many of our neighbors continue to struggle post-Sandy.
Harlan Consider November 11, 2012 at 10:47 PM
I think I answered your questions, JV. You asked them and I answered them. Now take care of your branches and stop using the hurricane as some excuse to expect someone else to do it. What the heck has happened to this country? Everyone seems to expect someone else to take care of them now.
Moist Cake November 11, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Gee JV, Lets make the town remove YOUR problem on YOUR property. Sounds to me like you have two options, pay to remove them or bring them to the recycling center. They town should not be responsible for trees on private property and I think its pretty generous and nice to have leaf removal service at all. In regards to information, its pretty clear the town wont pick up branches, its only listed in about 5 different places on the village website and has been in recent headlines for months.
Boyd A. Loving November 11, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Dr. Gabbert: The issuance of only 5 summonses in and of itself does not constitute "unbelievable" compliance. Perhaps those responsible for issuing summonses have been goofing off, because everywhere I've driven in the Village there is clear evidence of sticks, limbs, twigs, and branches in every other pile of leaves. I strongly recommend you leave the comforts of Village Hall and take a drive around the area yourself to confirm what the rest of us are seeing. Stop relying on information provided by your subordinates; they are telling you only what they know you want to hear.
OHW November 12, 2012 at 02:24 AM
JV: You're too polite Harlan: You're a jerk The Village has gathered sticks and branches off the side of the road for years. Gabbert laid off too many and now instead of the Village restoring staffing, we, the taxpayers, face $1000 fines or have to pile branches into sedans and turn them into garbage trucks. This reduction of services is a stealth tax increase. Not everyone has a big SUV or the inclination to pay landscapers for a service the village has withdrawn. The fault is not with the taxpayers, it's with our dysfunctional government
RdgwdGRock November 12, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Boyd - well put. Gabbert looks in the fun house mirror and thinks all is a-ok
Christine November 12, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Two enormous town trees fell on my property across over driveway and on 1/2 on my front lawn. After day 2, a local landscaper cut us out of our driveway so we could get to work; we worked together to pile limbs on sidewalk. Yesterday, a local church group came to help clean up the front yard free of charge and we worked for 5 hours to remove the debris. Again, piled limbs sidewalk, leaves in the street. We have not haf any help from the town,who own the trees and are responsible for removing the debris and still two large sections of both trees that lay across my front sidewalk. Given, the size of trees and accompanying debris, there is no way we can get stuff recycling center. Quote from tree co. $2500. Insurance doesn't cover. Town needs to take responsibility for trees just like we did when we repaired the sidewalks.
westwood kid November 12, 2012 at 01:16 PM
the taxes in this town are so high and the lack of service from the dpw sucks!!!1 the guys are lazy and the supertentadnt should start looking for a new job because his response is so slow to picking up the leaves, even with the help of conquest they are still slower then other towns and ridgewood has top notch equiptment. im in the landcare business and i have not seen anything like what ridgewood looks like. paramus was out on sunday moving piles and they made very good progress i seen just by driving around and looking, i think the people of ridgwood need to think about who they have running things and where there top dollars in tax money is going!!!! this is the reson i moved out of this town its over rated
J.D. Luke November 12, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Are you entirely sure about which side is causing the 7-day rule violation, though? Six days before my last pickup date, I put leaves into the street. They've now been there for thirteen days and counting. Oddly enough, a very large separate pile of leaves appeared in front of my house last Tuesday and then disappeared again on Wednesday... So the heavy equipment was out there.
anonymous November 12, 2012 at 02:41 PM
From what I can see, most of the pile of branches and tree debris in my neighborhood is from village trees that fell. At least 5 massive village trees fell on my street (probably because they all just had their roots ground down for the mandatory sidewalk repairs). These trees all took down power lines, ripped up the recently repaired sidewalks, and in two cases snapped utility poles in half. I assume the village will come and clean up their tree debris as these were massive trees - no way for an individual to haul this stuff to recycling center. How about a Patch story about all the damage caused in the village by uncared for village trees?
Ridgewooder November 12, 2012 at 03:53 PM
The town trees are a menace and the resulting debris, which is many cases are the entire tree (perhaps weighing into the thousands of pounds) ought to be that of the town. That what the town gets for a lack of maintenance with respect to such trees. Pennywise, pount foolish. NOW CLEAN UP YOUR MESS, GABBERT.
RdgwdGRock November 12, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Gabbert would read this article with rose colored glasses and think "wow, only 2 comments; I must be doing a great job"
Brian November 12, 2012 at 06:35 PM
My problem with the branch removal is that from May through September they collect branches under 4ft. (I am not talking about logs from trees that were chopped down). you can cut them to fit in garbage cans or bags and they collect them with grass clippings. Then once leaves start, no more stick pick up. I understand because of the leaf mulch pricing. Fine. In the aftermath of the storm, I think it would be great if the Village could figure out a way to have 1 more branch collection. Maybe even after leaf season in December or January. Just announce it so we all know there will be 1 more pickup. Otherwise, my options are to find a way to get branches to the dump or just leave them sitting until April when I can put them out on lawn waste day. Personally, I am probably going to just put them next to my garage to wait until May. Seems silly but it is a very easy solution.
dara brown November 13, 2012 at 10:20 AM
Other commenters have noted the the DPW staffing is down from a high of 20+ workers to a handful. Why would the 'supervisor' get paid the same salary when only ''supervising' fewer workers? If we do not have the manpower, just hire a subcontracter with a chipper and go clean the mess up. Then submit the bill to FEMA. I'm sure FEMA paid plenty to clean up the mess from Katrina, and the funds would be there if our Village officials made the request. Write the check. Clean up the mess. Get reimbursed.
westwood kid November 13, 2012 at 12:47 PM
the town laid off a bunch of people but the if they got a sub in there they would get done much quicker and for a lot less money because they dont have to pay all the benifits. i know i did work for other towns and we got thing done a lot faster then ridgewood. i rn my guys so we get done not milk the town for as much money as possible
Ridgewooder November 13, 2012 at 03:59 PM
I think OHW is 100% right. Furthermore, a material contributing factor in the toppling of the trees, the vast majority of which are the town owned trees in the territory between the sidewalk and the road, is the lack of pruning by the town. How does the town expect private citizens to haul away, literally, trunks weighing thousands of pounds? Thousands of pounds which endagered perople, caused great damage in many cases and whose existance as debris was caused in large part by the lack of the town taking care of their own property.
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Steve November 18, 2012 at 01:16 PM
You are absolutely right. One more branch collection due to the special circumstances of the hurricane would be the right thing to do. How the hell am I supposed to get the branches and sticks over to the recycling center in my small car? And Harlan Consider's arrogant response to "just hire someone" is not the point. Many people are having financial problems right now. And one more branch collection by the DPW would make it easy on everyone.
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