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Big changes coming to Ogdensburg brush removal schedule

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The city of Ogdensburg is trying to better manage the time spent by Department of Public Works employees by picking up curbside brush and yard waste on a rotating schedule in different areas of the city.

“Each week a different ward would be picked up,” City Manager John M. Pinkerton said at Monday’s City Council meeting.

The new rules are designed to cut down on the more than 3,000 hours logged per year on brush removal, Department of Public Works Supervisor Gregg E. Harland said, in an effort to free up resources for other projects.

“We think it’s more effective,” Mr. Pinkerton said of the initiative.

Mr. Pinkerton said the city will make exceptions for storms and other unpredictable events that result in excessive yard waste.

Currently the DPW goes to clean up brush only after being called by residents, a process that Mr. Harland said results in a backlog of requests and a crew that is stretched thin.

City Council gave approval for the rotating schedule. Councilor Michael D. Morley was opposed.

The system will see DPW split the city into four sections, or wards, and collect garbage from each ward on a rotating weekly schedule.

The city offers brush removal from May to October.

The first ward, encompassing the east side of the Oswegatchie River to State Street and including the area east of the Proctor Avenue Bridge, will have yard waste picked up on May 10 and 11, June 7 and 8, July 12 and 13, Aug. 9 and 10, Sept. 13 and 14 and Oct. 11 and 12.

The second ward includes the area west of the Oswegatchie River and will have their brush removed May 3 and 4, May 31 and June 1, July 5 and 6, Aug. 2 and 3, Sept. 6 and 7 and Oct. 4 and 5.

The third ward includes the area between Caroline and Paterson streets. Third ward curbside brush removal will occur May 24 and 25, June 21 and 22, July 26 and 27, Aug. 23 and 24, Sept 27 and 28 and Oct. 25 and 26.

The forth ward includes the region between Pleasant Avenue and Champlain Street. Curbside brush removal will take place May 17 and 18, June 14 and 15, July 19 and 20, Aug. 16 and 17, Sept. 20 and 21 and Oct. 18 and 19.

Under the new guidelines, brush cannot be set out to the curb until the Saturday before the scheduled cleanup, or residents may face action by the code enforcement office.

As an alternative, people are encouraged to bring their own yard waste to the old city landfill at the end of Champlain Street from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, Mr. Pinkerton said.

The city will only pick up piles of brush, which include branches, lawn clippings and leaves that are not in bags.

Councilor Jennifer Stevenson said the new program “makes a lot more sense” instead of the current request-based system.

But Mr. Morley said he thinks the program will result in city streets full of debris.

“I think you’re going to make the city look worse,” he said. “It’s just another service that we’re taking away from people while increasing their taxes.”

Mayor William D. Nelson said, “We’ll look at this like a trial season.”

Mr. Nelson said the program will go into effect this year and will be evaluated for effectiveness at the end of the summer.

More information on the program and a map of each ward can be found on the city’s website at www.ogdensburg.org.

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