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Schenectady County considers dropping leaf charges

Now that summer is over, all thoughts turn to chilly weather, sweaters and fall leaves. Unfortunately, the downside of pretty fall foliage is cleaning it up once it falls from the trees.

Local municipalities in Schenectady County make fall cleanup easier by providing pick-up services and the ability to bring lawn debris to the local compost facility.

The Schenectady County Legislature is considering a resolution reducing the fee for municipalities to bring leaf material to the Schenectady County Compost Facility from $6.50 per yard to $3 per yard. According to programs coordinator for the Schenectady County Conservation District David Mosher, the cost of handling leaf material is relatively low. Unlike branches and logs, leaves don't require grinding.

Currently several municipalities within Schenectady County uses a special vacuum truck to collect leaves that are piled on the road and deposits those leaves at various disposal sites.

Mosher said the largest municipalities in the county, Rotterdam, Glenville and Niskayuna, do not bring leaves to the county's compost facility. By lowering the cost of dumping leaf material at the compost facility, Mosher hopes to encourage local municipalities to participate in the program.

In a memo to the Schenectady County Legislature, County Manager Kathleen Rooney recommended Mosher's request saying it would increase municipal use of the County Compost Facility, generate additional revenues for the county and provide cost savings to local municipalities.

Currently the town of Glenville contracts out to another company that picks up the town's leaves for free and provides the town with topsoil at no charge. Highway superintendent Richard LeClair said last fall, the town took some of its leaves to the County Compost Facility, but it got very expensive.

"We would like to do business with the county, but it is expensive to get rid of leaves," he said.

Right now the town of Rotterdam operates its own compost facility on Princetown Road. Residents can purchase a $1 tag for their vehicle from the Town Clerk's office and dump yard waste and debris themselves or they can put leaves and brush in a recyclable bag or reusable container and have it picked up for free.

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