A proposal to was deemed too burdensome by the new Ridgewood council, which instructed staff to return to the drawing board.
Village Streets Department head John Spano and Director of Operations Frank Moritz appealed to the previous council in June with a plan that touted improved for residents and workers and also one of potentially lower costs. There was one important caveat, however.
"What we've proposed and put together is all leaves would be picked up and contained in paper bags," Moritz said in June. "No loose leaves will be placed in the street, and the bags will be placed on the property, not in the street. Only twigs and brush that fit into these bio-degradable bags will be permitted."
Logistical issues like determining whose leaves were whose, traffic issues, as well as cascading costs many would have to pay for landscapers were among the deal breakers, Councilwoman Bernadette Walsh said.
"If we go to this policy without finding the added costs for the residents, the time consumption of the residents to now bag it, I'm really concerned this is going to cause some unrest in the village," she added.
Deputy Mayor Al Pucciarelli said the pitch would be highly laborious for residents, many of whom would need to now spend hundreds on a landscaper.
To that point, said one resident, the bagging system would require two people – one to blow the leafs into the bag and another to hold the bag.
"I just don't see how it's going to work," Councilwoman Gwenn Hauck said of the plan. "My solution is to ticket and fine people for not putting leaves out on time."
She suggested adding some teeth to enforcement – $50 and $75 summonses for those caught breaking the rules.
Still, the and there are absolutely safety issues involved, according to Councilman Tom Riche. A last fall and streets are often reduced to the size of alleyways due to leaf piles.
"The issue is we don't have the resources or the dollars to clean every street every week," Riche said. "I think it's incumbent on this group to come up with some alternative that's going to improve the quality and the safety issue in the village...I'd like to see a different proposal."
Mayor Paul Aronsohn suggested the village staff present another plan to the council for consideration.
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