Limb pick-up effort chips away at city budget

Thursday, April 14, 2011

It may be nearly 70 degrees and the middle of April, but the City of Greencastle is still feeling the effects of the ice storm that paralyzed the area the first week of February.

That storm literally tore several Greencastle neighborhoods limb from limb, necessitating an emergency round of limb pick-up by the city's Department of Public Works.

On Tuesday night, Public Works Supt. Brad Phillips raised some eyebrows with his final report of the project to the City Council.

"The guys did a great job," Phillips said in praise of his crew. "Whether it rained or not, they were out there picking up limbs."

Several individual neighborhoods took three days or more to clean up.

"They had hoped to finish the job in 10 days," Mayor Sue Murray noted, adding that it took 18 workdays and over 24 calendar days to complete the effort.

"People have been extremely appreciative," she assured Phillips.

In all, the department hauled off 284 loads of limbs from city neighborhoods, while chipping up another 52.5 loads. And as Councilman Adam Cohen pointed out, that total does not include 23 loads hauled away from the cemetery or any limbs disposed of from park property.

In all, the limb pick-up effort resulted in city vehicles being driven 2,641.3 miles with 555.3 gallons of gasoline and another 335.5 gallons of diesel fuel expended. On top of that, it took the street sweeper 57 loads to clean up after chipping operations were complete.

While those numbers are impressive, the figure that stood out to city officials was the total cost of the clean-up effort -- just four cents shy of the $20,000 mark, or $19,999.96.

That amounts to $20,000 the city had not budgeted for 2011, so it will have to make the funds up by scrimping elsewhere, especially if disaster relief funds are not forthcoming from the federal government.

The state has included Putnam County in the disaster declaration area identified in the ice storm aftermath. The city could recover 75 percent of the $20,000 total if that happens, Mayor Murray said.

In the meantime, Councilor Phyllis Rokicki pointed out some residents have recently set out new piles of limbs and branches even though the collection effort is finished. Those piles will not be collected by the city, it was noted.

However, residents can take limbs to the Putnam County/Greencastle Yard Waste Site, which is now open just beyond the County Highway Department and firing range southwest of Greencastle. Hours of operation are 2 to 6 p.m. Monday, noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Nominal disposal fees apply for twigs, branches, leaves, grass clippings and other organic yard waste. Persons may call 653-6699 for more information.

As a follow-up to the discussion, City Clerk-Treasurer Teresa Glenn commented on attending the annual Clerk-Treasurers Institute at Muncie, where the topic of municipal services was raised.

"We are one of few cities, if not the only city there (at the conference), that still picks up leaves and limbs. Most cities are cutting back on those services," she said, adding, "I'm glad we're still able to do it."

View 5 comments
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. Please note that those who post comments on this website may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.
  • That's nice. I had my limbs at curbside before anyone on my street. Guess whose limbs they didn't pick up? Now I gotta pay to take it to the yardwaste site. The city hall parking lot is closer. Maybe I'll dump them there.

    -- Posted by bigchief968 on Thu, Apr 14, 2011, at 1:31 AM
  • I have seen piles out at the curbside even this week BUT they were put out after the City made the one pass through the neighborhoods. The City gave plenty of notice and clearly stated they would make one pass and one pass only. They did what they said and they did a great job!

    -- Posted by Trying hard on Thu, Apr 14, 2011, at 6:59 AM
  • I am glad that the public works folks were able to do such a great job of picking up limbs. I wonder what the total cost of salaries to sit and do nothing would be.

    -- Posted by Vernie1 on Thu, Apr 14, 2011, at 1:36 PM
  • Reminder that the city trash service will take your lawn refuse/clippings/limbs if they are broken down & will fit into your dumpster.

    -- Posted by ProblemTransmission on Thu, Apr 14, 2011, at 6:49 PM
  • Give all of us the answer,Vernie1,you should know...

    -- Posted by kubotafan on Fri, Apr 15, 2011, at 6:26 AM
Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: