Come this fall, right around the time that leaf-raking season begins, village of Saugerties residents might find themselves having to bag those leaves rather than moving them to the curb.
Robert Fanelli, village Department of Public Works superintendent is looking at ways of saving money and believes that having residents bag leaves and put them curbside rather than using a frontend loader and a dump truck to pick up loose leaves would cut the cost of fuel for the annual fall pick up.
Speaking at the March 6 village trustees meeting, Terry Parisian, the trustee liaison to the DPW said bag costs could run from 38 cents to 73 cents per bag.
There are a number of problems the use of bags could solve, according to Mayor William Murphy.
The use of bags would prevent leaves that have been raked curbside from blowing throughout the neighborhood, and it would also ensure that only leaves are put curbside. During the fall cleanup residents put brush along with the leaves on the side of the roads. Brush cleanup, Murphy said is only done during the spring.
One of the plans being considered is to give the bags away to residents, using the fuel savings to pay for them.
“It would be a gift to the taxpayers,” added trustee Vincent Buono.
However, the one question trustees could not answer would be how to enforce the use of the bags if some residents choose to rake the leaves curbside anyway and ignore using the bags.
“Other communities do it,” Buono said, “so maybe we can see how they run it.”
“We could make it optional the first year and see how it goes,” Murphy suggested.
“Or we could phase it in with using it as an option the first year, see how it goes the second year, and require it the third year,” Parisian added.
The bags would be biodegradable and would be dumped at the village yard on North Street, where the leaves are currently taken and composted to make topsoil, which is available to residents, Murphy said.
Any resident that would like some of the topsoil can call the DPW at 845-246-2321.
A decision on the bagging leaves proposal will be made later this summer before they begin to fall from the trees.