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Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

Should city keep twice-yearly yard waste pickups?

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Greg Peck
Tuesday, June 22, 2010

This might be the wrong time to suggest it, given the storm that felled trees and branches across much of Janesville last Friday, but would you favor eliminating the annual spring and fall yard waste pickups in order to save money?

Do you make use of these pickups, or do they slip past you before you can place bagged leaves and garden waste and bundled branches at the curb?

I broached the subject with John Whitcomb, city operations director, after seeing a story in the Wisconsin State Journal. It said that, to save money, Madison cut two of its eight crews that regularly collected brush and has abandoned its regular monthly collections. Now, some Madison homeowners are complaining because decomposing brush is filling terraces on some streets. It sometimes sits so long that it kills the grass.

In Janesville, the city has been exploring ways to save money on trash hauling. One idea—though the city council, at a June study session, did not direct the staff to further pursue it—would be to charge residents for each bag they set at the curb.

I wondered if the city could postpone any drastic changes by dropping its twice-a-year yard waste pickup. Whitcomb says the annual cost of both pickups has averaged about $30,000 the past five years. That compares to the weighty annual figure of $1 million for trash pickup. Obviously, the savings of abandoning the yard waste pickups wouldn’t go far toward holding off big changes in trash collection.

What do you think of the yard waste pickups? Maybe you simply haul your own brush to the city landfill when you need to throughout the summer. Residents who don’t take advantage of the annual yard waste pickups might wonder why they’re helping pay for the service through their tax dollars.

Greg Peck


Last updated: 10:13 am Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.


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