By Jeff Gallatin
City officials are working on clearing away problems with the brush and leaf pickup programs currently under way in the city.
Safety-service Director Scott Thomas said North Olmsted is getting more brush pickup and chipping vehicles back on the road, and that the leaf pickup crews are making more progress.
“It’s been tough for a little while, particularly in light of the problems we experienced in dealing with Sandy and the aftermath from all that happened with it,” he said.
Thomas said that one of the vehicles involved in the brush pickup is back in service after being down for several days.
“There were some mechanical problems with it which effectively prevented it from being able to be on the road and helping cut into the work,” he said. “But we got the mechanical problems fixed, and it’s back out there now. We’re making a lot of headway with the work (having) the additional assistance.”
With all the problems with Sandy, Thomas said the brush and leaf pickup work was slowed.
“That was a major storm and there were some pretty big piles of brush to be chipped, cut up and taken away, and likewise there were some pretty big piles of leaves out there,” he said. “I’m sure some people wondered if we were making any progress at all for a few days. But we did continue to work on various issues as best we could. And now, we’re really going a lot faster with the work.”
Thomas said the brush and chipping work schedule increased on Wednesday and noted the leaf pickup is moving into a new phase.
“They were starting their second sweep through the city,” he said. “Hopefully, it will be a little calmer for this one. But people should be getting all of the materials ready for pickup.”
Thomas reminded people to separate the brush piles from the leafs as the respective work crews pick up the different refuse.
“It’s easier and faster to collect if they aren’t mixed up together,” he said.
Mayor Kevin Kennedy and Thomas said current estimates are that the financial cost to the city from Hurricane Sandy is between $100,000 and $120,000.
“That’s going to include different items like equipment costs and rental, worker costs and overtime and additional resources because of the storm,” Thomas said.
“It’s not cheap, that’s for sure, but unfortunately, you can’t do anything about controlling the weather,” Kennedy said. “We just try to be as prepared as we can. Director Thomas and his department heads met to discuss on how to do things better, and we will continue to review things to find better ways of dealing with problems.”
Thomas said the city still plans to have a third leaf pickup sweep in the city, which should be concluded around Dec. 7. Further information on the city programs can be obtained at the municipal website, www.north-olmsted.com.