JACKSON-Residents took to social media during January’s winter storm to ask why the township has yet to finish the fall leaf pickup in many areas of town, which began . In an online poll run by JTOWN Magazine, 75% of residents polled said the township did not pick up their fall leaves yet.
The township leaf pickup program annually plagues homeowners with delays, but this year is the first time the leaves have been left through the New Year.
Township Business Administrator Helene Schlegel said the delay has been related to a series of weather events, starting with extreme cold in November.
“The extreme weather conditions we recently experienced severely impacted the Township’s plans and scheduling of leaf pickup in some sections of the township. The equipment and manpower which was necessarily redirected to address safety concerns of Township roadways resulted in the leaf collection program falling behind,” Schlegel said. “Current weather conditions indicate more seasonable conditions should exist over the next several weeks. Efforts will now be focused on completing leaf collection. To achieve this goal, all personnel and equipment will be assigned seven days a week until completion. The Township wants to thank you for your patience and understanding during this challenging situation.”
John Maneri, who is running for the office of mayor in Jackson this November said he isn’t buying that excuse. Maneri said the township’s director of public works should be held accountable, adding that he would consider firing the DPW’s top public official.
“I have lived in Jackson for nearly 20 years and never has the leaf pickup and snowy roads been as bad as the past 4-5 years,” Maneri said. “The Jackson DPW needs to step up, and as Mayor I will fire Fred Rasciewitz [DPW Director] if it does not improve. We pay too much money to have to wonder if our leaves will get picked up.”
Jackson resident Mike Siano expressed his frustration.
“The streets look like crap and it is dangerous. Cars have to drive down the middle of the road or pull over to let other cars pass,” Siano said. There is no room to turn on to some streets because of the leaf piles.”
Former Jackson resident John Ernst said the annual leaf pickup service was one of the reasons he left the township.
“The leaf issue was just one of the reasons we decided to move out of town,” Ernst said. “Our house seemed to be the dump for street. Everyone’s leaves, loose papers and even garbage always ended up on the street in front of our house or on our front lawn.”
Ernst said it was such a nuisance for him, he considered taking matters into his own hands at one point, as many suggested last week, to bring their leaves and dump them in the parking lot at town hall.
“I was quite tempted last year to load up my pick up with all the leaves and brush that was growing and growing and drop it in front of town hall until the entire pile was gone from in front of my home,” he added. “Maybe if everyone started doing that, the town would get the point and do the leaf/brush pick up. You pay taxes but have no return on investment, so withhold the monies due.”
The township leaf pickup began on November 13th and was supposed to be finished by December 20th.
Photo by Susan Palumbo, submitted to Jackson, NJ Facebook page.