Scarsdale NY: Resolution to 2015 Leaf Program


On March 26, 2015, the Village of Scarsdale Board of Trustees convened as a Committee of the Whole to discuss the 2015 Proposed Resolution of the Leaf Collection Program.

View Resolution HERE

Larry Wilson, NYSTLA Member and our legislative liaison attended this meeting along with other members of the Association.   Summarizing the results:

“Those that came to the Scarsdale Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday evening, March 26th  to hear the Board come out in favor of a resolution banning bulk leaf pick up at curbside, were clearly disappointed. The many groups in favor of banning leaf pick up were very well represented. They brought residents and supporters asking for this long established service to be eliminated. They did not get their wish.

 The New York State Turf and Landscape Association was among three speakers out of about 20 that agreed that leaf mulching can help reduce leaf volume under certain conditions, but will not work under all conditions and is an inadequate strategy to deal with the totality of leaf volume in Scarsdale. Many speakers and all trustees had praise for the various educational programs underway in Scarsdale to proclaim the benefits of mulching in place, but the Trustees agreed that they had reservations. The Mayor (whose term expires next week on April 1 ) also drew the line at imposing the resolution. Some said that they had tried mulching themselves, one trustee had a favorable view, one did not have such good luck. In the audience was the Mayor-elect,  Hon. Jonathan Mark who took the podium at the end of the program to express his support for teaching the public about mulching in place, but firmly disagreed with elimination of bulk leaf pick up at curbside. All trustees asked that leaf piles do not extend into the street, but are piled on homeowner property close to the curb, they were all quite emphatic about this. One Trustee, William Stern was in favor of passing the resolution.

 It was important that The New York State Turf and Landscape Association came to deliver its opinion about the limitations of mulching in place. Many advocates of mulching in place voiced misinformation. They interpreted our  attendance at Scarsdale forums and educational events sponsored by the group “ Leave Leaves Alone”  to signify that we were in favor of eliminating bulk leaf pick up. It was critical that we showed up to present a clarification and express our opposition to that.

 In the end, the Trustees agreed. They also questioned the numbers claimed by those who predicted a savings windfall by the Village if they were to stop picking up leaves in bulk. They simply did not foresee a significant savings. I am sure that they all had opposed the resolution long before tonight’s hearing, but to hear testimony from us that was essentially parallel with their views, was certainly appreciated by them, and we were thanked by all for our participation and testimony.

 So leaf pick up will be in the 2015 budget in Scarsdale……but it is not going away. Those in favor of eliminating leaf pick up will keep up the pressure on the Trustees through their contacts among local community groups.

 The trustees were vastly different from those in New Rochelle. The City Council members in New Rochelle, along with the Mayor there who voted to end leaf pick up did not think that burdening homeowners with  leaf disposal costs was any big deal. So what if New Rochelle homeowners are taxed into oblivion and already pay a Garbage disposal fee?

 Credit the Scarsdale Trustees for understanding that the elimination of this service was a burden on the Scarsdale homeowners, most of whom do not even know that this debate is going on. They saw through the exaggerated claims made by those who came to speak in favor of the policy change, and they disagreed, much to their Credit.

 I will have more for you soon.”

 ~ Larry Wilson