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Oct 5, 2010 2:32 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton Town considers eliminating leaf pick-up

Oct 5, 2010 2:32 PM

A proposal to eliminate leaf pickup this year in an effort to cut back on costs will be the topic of a hearing at the East Hampton Town Board on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Normally, the town’s Highway Department trucks pick up leaves raked to the side of roadways or placed in biodegradable paper bags, and they are disposed of. Under the proposal, residents will be required to take their leaves to the town dump for disposal or hire someone else to do it. The move will result in an expected savings to the town of $570,000, according to Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson.

In the introduction to the tentative 2011 budget, Mr. Wilkinson says that in light of the town’s “dire” financial picture, leaf collection is a program that has become a luxury. “We will be working with local volunteer groups and the town’s Community Service program to assist seniors in moving their leaves from their residences to the Town Recycling Center. As in the past, residents can self-haul their leaves to the Recycling Center with no drop-off fees,” he said.

Town Loses Case

An administrative law judge for the State Public Employment Relations Board has ruled that during the administration of William McGintee, the Town of East Hampton wrongly demoted a public employee, Thomas Horn, in “retaliation” for his pro-labor activities.

On September 21, Judge Philip. L. Maier ordered that the job of the safety officer be reinstated. While the ruling doesn’t mention a dollar figure, the ruling says Mr. Horn should be “made whole for lost wages and benefits.”

Mr. Horn, who was demoted to his old position as a fire marshal grade 1, said he would take advantage of the state retirement program and leave his job for good on October 13.

In March 2009, the Civil Service Employees Association Inc., Local 1000, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, filed a grievance on behalf of Mr. Horn, claiming he had been wrongly demoted “in retaliation for his exercise of protected activity.”

Former Supervisor McGintee, who the judge said in his ruling testified at one of two hearings on the matter, said Mr. Horn was demoted to save the town Mr. Horn’s $60,000-a-year position as safety officer.

As a member of the union, Mr. Horn had taken issue with an agreement the town had with the CSEA over health insurance, a sick day limit and vacation, according to the judge’s decision. Mr. Horn testified that in a conversation, Mr. McGintee accused him of trying to take over the union, the decision said.

Summit Planned

A business summit sponsored by the Town of East Hampton will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 28, at the Montauk firehouse, Supervisor Bill Wilkinson has announced. Although the summit is being held in Montauk, it is open to all businesses in the East Hampton area. The public is also invited.

Topics at the summit will include parking issues, the gentrification of the area, commercial fishing and recreational fishing, the 7-Eleven Store in Montauk and the Surf Lodge parking at the Montauk Playhouse, chain stores, and any other issues businesses wish to discuss.

“I’m hoping we’ll have a dialogue about some of these things,” Mr. Wilkinson said, “that’s why we’re having it from 4 to 8.”

Code enforcement and building department representatives will attend. Representatives from 7-Eleven and the Surf Lodge will also be invited to attend, he said.

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As others have observed, the key cost figure to understand is the real dollar savings to be gained by eliminating leaf pick-up. It should not be the fully loaded cost of all the people and equipment involved if many or even all of the people and equipment will remain part of the town cost overheads whether there is leaf pick-up or not.
By Sag (54), Sag harbor on Oct 6, 10 4:21 PM
the town should auction off the 16 or so leaf machines after the hearing if all goes well but we will see.
By asurest (117), easthampton on Oct 6, 10 6:36 PM
it will save the town money, but the homeowner won't get a tax cut and will have to pay more money and gas to have them carted to the dumps. BIG SAVINGS for homeowners ?? thanks. this will only lead to more illegal dumping and the town will have to pick them up then..
By harborguy (2), southampton on Oct 6, 10 7:36 PM
1 member liked this comment
Agree with HarborGuy...Now we will have 1000 trucks running back and forth to the dump.
By private (27), sag harbor on Oct 7, 10 6:58 AM
Gee thats great. What exactly do I get for my taxes? I think we should all dump our leaves on the fron lawns of the people who ran the previous administration, as they put us in this bankrupt situation!
By reality 101 (137), East Hampton on Oct 7, 10 11:28 AM
tell it goodbye kiddo!
By uncleronk (136), southold on Oct 7, 10 2:53 PM
Why does East HAmpton continue to cut its tax bill when it doesnt have enough revenue to run the town? Like any business you need a baseline income stream to provide services the town is th esame way. Picking up leaves are your taxes at work.
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Oct 8, 10 6:42 AM
1 member liked this comment
And if you don't pick up leaves you don't pay the taxes needed to pay for a service that few governments offer. You cut the tax bill by downsizing and better utilizing the staff and assets you have to deliver the necessary services It is the formula that successful businesses use. Maybe someone is trying to make East Hampton successful. Are you telling me Southampton has no frivolous programs and bloating in staff?

There are many services like police, public safety, emergency responsiveness, ...more
By mrmako61 (148), southampton on Oct 9, 10 12:58 AM
Leaf pick up is only part of the services offered by this department. You would still need them for these other services and consequently this tax would continue. Having them do leaf pick up is complementary to their snow plowing activities and clean-up after storms for example. So it allows for a more effective allocation and use of that tax dollars. More bang for the buck. You cannot expect the administrative staff at town hall to jump into the plows in the middle of a storm. Different skill ...more
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Oct 11, 10 8:06 PM
You can buy a good rake at any hardware store. The instructions are on the bag
By 27dan (2854), south hampton on Oct 9, 10 1:07 AM
This proposal would be a farce if it wern't so tragic. It comes down to who will bear the most pain. Those who can and always have been able to afford the "luxury" of leaf removal or those who can't. Even the fact that the Sup. would call leaf removal a luxury shows how aloof from real people he is. Money and his tax bill is the only concern and everyone else must hurt so he and his friends don't need to contribute to the common good. Even his nod to help is a joke. His inviting community service ...more
By facts man (148), east hampton on Oct 9, 10 9:14 AM
The people who live in the woods got the most out of this entitlement and those of us who don't are helping pay for it. Time for fairness, time to lose the pickup program.
By montaukman (98), easthampton on Oct 9, 10 10:21 AM
Montaukman, the fact you call the leaf program an "entitlement" shows you have no understanding of the history of the program nor of the responsibilty we have to our neighbors. It started over 20 yrs. ago to help the elderly or disabled with their leaf cleanup. For the first few years those who needed help got it because most people respected the consept. Then others who thought they were "entitled" demanded they get pickup too and it grew to a multy million $ burden because of selfishness. Other ...more
By facts man (148), east hampton on Oct 10, 10 12:15 PM
I have no problem with people helping their neighbors, though I like to choose who I help, not be told I'm required to. So throw your rake across your shoulders facts man and clean up all the leaves you care to, just don't expect my tax dollars to pay for your perceived'responsibilities.
By montaukman (98), easthampton on Oct 10, 10 3:07 PM
Some of my precieved (and required) responsibilities: Federal- defence, FDA, FAA,highway admin,congressional salaries, and 100's more. State- Police,national guard,highways,DEC,welfare,courts,leglislative salaries, and 100's more. County- Police,vector control,industrial development authority, leglislative salaries, and scores more. Town- police,dump,bldg. dept.,marine patrol,Wilks salary and dozens more. You CAN'T choose no matter how much any list might piss you off. But we also have responsibilities ...more
By facts man (148), east hampton on Oct 10, 10 4:18 PM
Sorry it took me so long to get back to you facts man, I had to go to work on a Sunday to help pay my share of the cost of the leaf pickup for all those poor people in Settlers Landing, Barnes Hole,and Landfall.


I forgot Beachampton.
By montaukman (98), easthampton on Oct 10, 10 8:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
I've been reading the banter between montaukman and lack of facts man. Montauk man has a point, why should people in Montuak who really have few leaves subsidize people in Nothwest, who live in multi million dollar homes to have their leaves picked up? When they bought those million dollar homes did they do so with a guarantee of leaf pick up? Heck, did they even know their leaves got picked up? I did not read of anyone from old time Springs or the fishing industry area of Amagansett complain ...more
By mrmako61 (148), southampton on Oct 10, 10 9:19 PM
I guess you guys can't read or at least if a person has a diffrent point of view it won't penetrate. I've always said we have a responsibility to those who CAN'T. Mililonares should be excluded. There are people who live in Springs, fishermen and even Montaukers who get their leaves picked up and some of them need it. At least every town and village in Suffolk has some sort of leaf program because they know there are some who can't do it themselves. And yes Human Resources is budgeted but without ...more
By facts man (148), east hampton on Oct 11, 10 9:13 AM
I've said it before and I'll say it again I will help the people that I believe need that help, I just don't trust the Gov't to tell me who those people are. There are way too many abuses in all Gov't programs and we the honest taxpayer are the ones who always get screwed.
By montaukman (98), easthampton on Oct 11, 10 10:07 AM
What kind of abuse is there in leaf pickup? How are you going to sort who deserves leaf pick up and who doesn't. The rich can't have it because they can afford to have their landscaper take it to the dump? Their taxes are subsidizing dozens of services for you and I. Leaves are leaves, just like roads are roads. Pick up is a service for all you can't parse out merit for.
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Oct 11, 10 8:22 PM
OK Montaukman I compleatly agree with you. This is where we should be. You and I both want to help we just disagree on the amount of involvment needed for govt. to get the job done. Come up with a better way other then an ending of the program. No one wants their taxes wasted on people who don't need it. Thats abuse. But we also need to protect the weakest of us. Thats a citizens duty. Please give it some thought and make it work. Fact.
By facts man (148), east hampton on Oct 11, 10 10:53 AM
The Town has already collected taxes--your money and my money-- for this year's 2010 leaf pick up. Kind of nutty financing to take away the service for this year and give us back the "funds" in the form of a reduced tax bill for 2011. Here in Springs there are many small lots with a lot of trees and leaves. As is usual with this administration, the poor, the retired, and the working class will feel the brunt of this elimination of service.
Instead of taking the usual sledgehammer to this ...more
By P.A.B. (23), East Hampton on Oct 12, 10 9:24 AM
And as usual, with no leaf pick up in place...where do you think the leaves are gonna end up? In YOUR yard....MY yard...your neighbor's yard...where the guy across the street would much rather blow or rake their leaves back across the street, so as not to blow back into his yard. Regardless of a "free" drop off at the dump...not everyone has access to a pick up which is the best way to handle them. So, I will pack my station wagon chock full of bags of leaves & drive to the dump, like a "responsible" ...more
By trublnocknatmydr (35), East Hampton on Oct 12, 10 5:35 PM
1 member liked this comment
I love the visuals...Look at the bright side, at least you have a station wagon.
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Oct 14, 10 9:19 AM
To PAB -- if a tax is collected it must be spent? What about not spending it and using it next year to keep taxes down?
By mrmako61 (148), southampton on Oct 12, 10 8:25 PM
I just read the editorial in the East Hampton Press today. If I did't know better I would say that Facts Man is writng the editorials for the Press. It's almost like the editorial was lifted from the Facts Man's comments.
By mrmako61 (148), southampton on Oct 13, 10 6:32 PM
Is that you Steve?
By montaukman (98), easthampton on Oct 13, 10 10:35 PM
Thanks Mako. I didn't write the editorial' nor am I employed by the paper. I haven't read the editorial but its flattering to think my thoughts would get published and even more so that I'm correct. Nope I'm just a retired guy who has lived here all my life and who's watched the lunatics take over the assilum in town hall and on the street. Fact.
By facts man (148), east hampton on Oct 14, 10 11:22 AM
Thanks Mako. I didn't write the editorial' nor am I employed by the paper. I haven't read the editorial but its flattering to think my thoughts would get published and even more so that I'm correct. Nope I'm just a retired guy who has lived here all my life and who's watched the lunatics take over the assilum in town hall and on the street. Fact.
By facts man (148), east hampton on Oct 14, 10 11:25 AM
Nice try facts man
By mrmako61 (148), southampton on Oct 14, 10 6:35 PM
Oh yea i forgot to say -- the editorial in the EH was was ognorant at best...just plain silly at worst. The Press editorials are predictable. Wherever there is a non-republican supervisor, the supervisor is king. Republican supervisors? No chance.
By mrmako61 (148), southampton on Oct 14, 10 6:42 PM
Do you get the ognorant facts man? Not a typo.
By mrmako61 (148), southampton on Oct 14, 10 6:44 PM