Leaf dump could close due to abuse

Darrell Todd Maurina

WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (Dec. 2, 2010) — Frustrated by abuse of the city’s leaf dump on Highway F, Waynesville Councilman Mike France proposed Wednesday that the dump be closed to all users except city workers and contractors.

“That thing is out of control. I know it is a service we offer to our citizens, but they keep throwing the plastic bags in there, full of leaves and stuff like that without any regard,” France said. “I’ve seen them dump most recently a trash bag with the trash in there.”

The problems aren’t limited to throwing inappropriate items in the leaf dump but also failing to obtain a key and simply throwing items over a locked gate.

“You watch them when it is locked, they’ll go up there even when it is closed. They’ll sling that stuff out of the bed of the truck and throw it over the fence,” France said. “You talk to the guy and ask him, ‘Why didn’t you go get the key?’ (He’ll say) ‘Well, I didn’t know about the key.’ And (I say) ‘I’d appreciate it if you’d cut open your plastic bag and just dump your leaves.’ I drive back by and they’re just sitting there.’ When we allow that to happen, that falls on us.”

Councilwoman Diana Stanford cautioned that closing the leaf dump could quickly create other problems.

“Then they’ll start throwing that in the ditches again if we take that service away,” Stanford said.

France said that isn’t a reason to keep it open.

“Our ditches will fill whether we do that or not … we haven’t got the people or the money to pay someone to go up there and cut the bags open and take care of that,” France said. “Just like any other thing, a few people ruin it for a whole bunch of people because of their laziness and total disregard for the rules that govern free use of that area.”

Stanford said penalizing abusers rather than legitimate users may be the solution.

“If you saw somebody throwing their bags out, you should have written down their license plates,” Stanford said.

City Administrator Bruce Harrill said that doesn’t provide adequate evidence for prosecution, but Stanford had another idea.

“Everybody with their cell phones and cameras on them, you can go click… that’s your evidence,” Stanford said.

“There’s more people than I could ever catch,” France replied.

Street supervisor Brian Adams agreed that there’s a problem.

“A lot of people just don’t like going to have to go get the key and hassle with it. You never had a lot of the problems we have now before putting the gate up,” Adams said.

In related matters, Adams said city crews have been working on their own leaf and limb debris cleanup projects.

“We’re probably going to only spend a few more days on leaf cleanup because it’s getting colder and the truck cannot operate in cold temperatures. It starts sucking up moist air and it starts plugging and condensing ice in the line, and it gets to the point where it doesn’t want to work anymore and you’re just wasting time,” Adams said. “The more we can get now, the less we’ll have to do in the spring.”

Adams said crews will soon move to tree trimming and removal of items from the sides of the road.

Stanford said at least one area requires additional attention.

“I did notice that after our big rain we had around the square, all the storm grates are covered with leaves again and sticks. I know you guys get to those,” Stanford said.

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