After pausing a previous plan to recailibrate in light of public comments, the Crossett City Council voted Monday to adopt a new plan for leaf and limb pickup in the city limits.
Under the new plan, presented by Councilman Cary Carter and developed by a committee he headed, leaves will be picked up for five months of the year, while limb and junk pickup will be continue year-round.
The plan will also increase residential garbage rates from $15 a month to $17 monthly.
As adopted by the council, the new plan will have leaves picked up from Oct. 1 to March 31. The city will no longer use the leaf vacuum truck, and residents will be required to bag the leaves and contact the city to schedule a pickup. The city will haul the leaves to the landfill.
Street and Sanitation Director Jeff Harrison said switching to a bagged leaf system will make things easier for pickup, telling the council the city would use its boom truck to grab the leaves.
“It is going to be a heck of a lot quicker and cleaner because of the bags,” Harrison said. “The leaf vac just made things nasty. If it was raining, the leaves got washed down the drain and clogged things up.”
Harrison said that since the new policy was not in place Monday, the department would make another sweep of the city with the leaf vacuum truck.
“I don’t think it is right to ask the citizens to go back and bag it all, but once it is clean we will discontinue the use of the leaf vacs,” he said.
The guidelines adopted for limbs Monday include that limbs must be no longer than four feet and no wider than six inches in diameter. All limbs will be chipped on the street before being taken to the landfill, which will eliminate the need to take them to the city barn.
A key provision is that limbs will only be picked up on Tuesday and Thursday, and that residents will have to call the Street and Sanitation Department by 2 p.m. the day before pickup to schedule the removal.
When discussing the proposal, Councilwoman Crystal Marshall asked what the city would do if limbs do not fall within the guidelines for pickup.
“Let’s say I call in to pick up some limbs and I am guesstimating our limbs are within our parameters and the city workers decide they are not,” she said. “Are we just going to put their limbs down and drive away, or are we going to notify them?”
Harrison said he thought it would be a good idea for the city to make some uniform door hangers to inform residents why their limbs were not picked up.
He also said that the city still would not remove downed trees for residents.
“If they have a tree cut or cut a tree themselves, they will have to clean it up themselves,” he said.
The policy also addresses burning of limbs and leaves.
The city will not allow the open burning of limbs and leaves, and burning must be kept to a backyard area. It will be allowed in fire pits or burn rings, though burn rings must be no larger than 36-inches in diameter.
Once the policy goes into effect, junk pickup will be on Wednesday only, and residents must call by 2 p.m. the Tuesday before pickup to schedule it.
The city will charge for the pickup. The standard pickup fee will be $15. Junk that requires the city to use an eight-yard truck will cost $50, and if the use of a 12-yard truck is required, the charge will be $75.
Harrison said he believes 95 percent of residential pickups will incur the $15 fee.
The pickup charge will be included on the resident’s water bill each month, he said, and if no pickup is made, there will be no charge.
Piling of leaves, limbs or construction material — “or any material that may be considered refuse” — in a city alley is also prohibited under the new guidelines.
In other news, the council adopted a resolution expressing its willingness to use state aid funds to pave streets.
The funds will be used to pave a portion of Cedar Street from U.S. 82 to Ninth Avenue and Ninth Avenue from Cedar to Main streets.
The project will also include portions of Beech Street, especially around the Crossett Learning Center where the roadway has begun to erode, Mayor Scott McCormick said.