Various options have been proposed for leaf disposal in the Village of Windsor.
In a related matter, a ban on open burning in residential areas is still a possibility, which would eliminate one way for residents to get rid of leaves.
An open house to gather public option on the issue could be scheduled for late November or early December, according to Village President Bob Wipperfurth.
“Some of the feedback we’ve gotten is that neighbors don’t like the smell of smoke, but the biggest problem is people burning on non-burning days,” said Wipperfurth.
At the Windsor Village Board meeting on Thursday, Nov. 7, Wipperfurth said more citizen input is needed on whether to eliminate open burning in the municipality. As yet, a firm date for the open house has yet to be scheduled.
Wipperfurth said village officials again took up the issue of a burning ban a few months ago in response to complaints and increased knowledge of the detrimental health effects of burning leaves, Wipperfurth said. He also said the DeForest Windsor Fire & EMS Department strongly believes open burning should be eliminated in populated areas.
Windsor residents will still be allowed to burn leaves this fall and probably this spring, too, according to Wipperfurth.
Village officials have come up with eight ideas for leaf disposal, including having residents drop off leaves at the village recycling center. Increased hours at the recycling center at 4035 Mueller Rd. and improvements made to the site could make that option more viable.
“Expanded hours at the center up here may be a solution,” said Wipperfurth.
Windsor resident Dean Dopkins said the area gets muddy in wet weather.
“The area gets a lot of mud. You could get stuck there,” said Dopkins. “Maybe add some crushed gravel where needed.”
Dopkins also talked about busy the recycling center gets on Saturday, saying that cars are often lined up clear out to the road.
Other options include: the village purchasing a leaf-vac truck, estimated at around $200.000, to pick up leaves; the village picking up leaves using a paper bag system; the village picks up leaves with a used garbage truck, which could be bought for $50,000, according to village officials; the village hires a contractor to pick up leaves; residents burn leaves; residents drop off leaves at village-run recycling center; residents mulch leaves; or residents contract for removal of leaves themselves.
Deputy Administrator and Director of Economic Development Jamie Rybarczyk laid out the pros and cons for some of the options, including the cost of the leaf-vac truck. In researching possible leaf disposal alternatives, Rybarczyk said he found out many communities simply have residents mulch their leaves back into their lawns.
Dopkins, who lives in the Terrace Park area, said he seldom burns. He did one recently and said that was the first Dopkins had done in five or six years.
“I’m not sure there are many people in Terrace Park who burn,” said Dopkins. He also said a lot of people don’t have the type of equipment needed to haul leaves to the recycling center.
Dopkins also lamented the closure of sites in Dane County that take leaves.
Trustee Bruce Stravinski said he was told that the county is closing those sites because of fears over the spread of disease and contaminants.
Director of Public Works Davis Clark explained what the village does with leaves residents bring to the recycling center. Clark said that they are hauled to Tri-County on Norway Grove Road every couple of weeks and are composted there. Clark also said a new place has opened on Vinburn Road just went of Hwy. C, which is closer for the village. He said the village will begin taking its leaves and grass there.
Wipperfurth said the leaf-vac truck is “a huge expense that not everybody wants.” Trustee Brad Mueller said he wants to make sure the solution is equitable for everyone. Mueller expressed interest in making the recycling center better and expanding its hours of operation to accommodate the needs of residents. Stravinski also felt that expanding recycling center’s hours of operation could help.
Both Stravinski and Wipperfurth talked about how the village bears some responsibility for leaf pickup in Windsor.
Trustee Monica Smith said more residential input on curbside pickup is needed.