Does the city sweep leaves from the street anymore?


Over the last few years, I have heard more and more complaints from residents that public works is not sweeping the streets for leaves anymore. Obviously, today wouldn’t be the ideal day to do it, BUT over the last couple of months, the city could have easily swept the streets. We have the resources (funding, employees, street sweepers) so why don’t we do it?

The mayor and public works MAY claim this is a cost saving measure, but I would disagree. Clogging the street drains with leaves can get very expensive, very fast. Keeping streets clean from foliage waste also helps with cutting down on surface corrosion.

So why isn’t the city doing it? I know the mayor has been asked about it several times in public meetings, and Public Works director Cotter has mentioned that adjoining property owners are responsible for out to the middle of the street. Huh?! So not only must we fix the city’s sidewalks, maintain the trees in the boulevard, but now we need to sweep the streets for them to? What next? Put snowplows on the front of our cars and plow our own streets? (which isn’t too far from the truth considering the poor job they have been doing plowing the main roads today).

This push to conserve and save the city money on street sweeping might be prudent if the city was in dire straits, hardly the case after building a $100 million dollar events center and the council is preparing to give $500K to the mayor’s wife’s private indoor tennis facility.

The city has money to sweep the streets. Start doing it.


#1 Snoplow on 12.12.13 at 6:03 pm

After reading all of your posts I thought I may be able to answer some of your questions. Has the size of our fleet shrunk? No our fleet cannot grow or shrink, we still have the same amount of sweepers that we’ve always had Flushers as well. So what happened? Ice storm in the spring, wasint that contracted out? Sure was, the part where the trees were picked up from residents homes…. until the contractors slowed down then we had to go back out and resume pickup due to overwhelming complaints. Another reason it didn’t get done was the overlay projects were behind to a point where they finished paving streets right before the snow came, this is usually completed early September, this year the contractor who bid the concrete fell behind and was eventually fired but not before putting the CIP projects 2 months behind. Not public works fault as we don’t oversee contractors that is a different department. most of our temporary help (ie truck drivers) went back to school in August and most of the others ran out of hours ( overtime from ice storm) apparently it is difficult to hire new people in the fall, they post ads and don’t get many applicants, so being short on people most of our crews were subsequently shut down and sent to haul asphalt, sweeping was affected as were all other crews either by going to skeleton crews or being shut down altogether. Why do this you ask? To save the city from a lawsuit. When the streets are measured for overlay the tonnage for every street is figured up and totaled this is how we get bids for asphalt, somehow and you would have to ask someone further up the ladder than me, locks us into how much asphalt we purchase we are under contract to use X amount of tons if we don’t the city is still liable for the contract amount. Shutting down in September would have left us thousands of tons short of our contract. Is it an excuse? no but it is factual. We need more people to call and complain in the fall about street sweeping, it seems that is how the powers that be decide how important certain projects are, so don’t complain to each other complain to the City, because sweeping in the fall needs to be done and not overlooked.

#2 Detroit Lewis on 12.12.13 at 11:38 pm

snoplow, thank you for weighing in, I appreciate it.

I have a feeling that Cotter received more then ‘just a few’ calls about this.

As you point out, it comes down to ‘priorities’ and I totally understand. I have known MANY public works, engineering, PO’s, FF’s, and pencil pushers with that city that have told me mind boggling stories about how the city ‘does things’. Sometimes I would walk away from convos with the former city clerk and want to walk straight into a brick wall, because that would make more sense. My favorite story was one from a city employee who told me about the parking study of DT before the EC location was picked. That was a gem.

I want you to know, that I don’t hold anything against the common city employee, following orders, totally understand. Why else would someone scrape goose crap from the bike trail?

What I do want to know is why no one questions authority anymore?

Leave a Comment