Mayor: Uptick in brush pickup causing problems for city's street department

By LEA RIZZO, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 5/25/17

DORA — Mayor Randy Stephens opened Tuesday night’s specially scheduled Dora city council meeting by addressing issues the city has been having regarding free brush pickup.

The city currently offers free brush pickup to residents of Dora. …

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Mayor: Uptick in brush pickup causing problems for city's street department

Posted

DORA — Mayor Randy Stephens opened Tuesday night’s specially scheduled Dora city council meeting by addressing issues the city has been having regarding free brush pickup.

The city currently offers free brush pickup to residents of Dora. While Stephens acknowledged that it’s a service appreciated by residents, he noted that more and more people are putting large quantities of brush out to be picked up and this is overwhelming the city’s street department.

“It’s been developing in the five years I’ve been mayor and, according to employees, it’s been an ongoing thing now for a while,” he said.

Stephens explained that the increase in brush isn’t from people trimming tree limbs but rather clearing off whole lots or cutting down trees then leaving the debris for the city’s limited resources to pickup.

The City of Dora does not have a brush truck and the street department has six members total, including Street Superintendent Jeremy Hicks. Brush is picked up by request only.

“We only have so many man hours in a work week and the [street department] is pretty well stretched out all the time,” Stephens said, addressing complaints from some residents that their brush hasn’t been picked up in two weeks.

Hicks was in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting and spoke on the brush pickup issues at Stephens’ request. He has been with the street department for six years and said he’s seen this problem become worse over the last year.

“Brush pickup is trimming some limbs off your trees and putting them on the side of the road,” Hicks said. “People are pushing stuff up with bulldozers and expecting my two guys to go pick it up. That’s not what brush pickup is.”

He added that the street department spent four hours Tuesday on two stops.

Stephens said that, to address this issue, the council will either need to increase the street department’s work force, find some way to help support this service or put regulations in place regarding what people can have picked up.

There are currently no guidelines in place regarding what people can put out to request to be picked up.

“When people clean a lot off, they ought to load up a trailer and take it to the dump,” said council member Clyde Nix. “I think we need to draw up some guidelines for the amount that [the city] will pickup.”

Recently, a policy has been implemented to ensure that brush is picked up in the order that the requests are called in. Stephens stressed that the city doesn’t know when something needs to be picked up if residents don’t call in and request a work order.

The council voted to table the matter until the next council meeting.

Council member McArthur Sargent and Stephens suggested having a work session to discuss brush pickup as well as another matter regarding the fire department. The council scheduled a work session for Thursday, June 1.

In other business at Tuesday’s council meeting, council members:

• revisited the discussion of creating a paid part-time position to allow a firefighter to be at the fire station from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday to run emergency calls.

Fire Chief David Box said the department has missed 39 calls so far this year, with several of them being missed because they’ve come in during the day when firefighters are at their regular jobs and no one is available to run the calls.

The department currently has 21 volunteer firefighters.

Stephens raised questions of who would supervise these employees and Nix questioned whether the city could afford to create and pay for this position.

The council voted to table the issue and will discuss the matter further in the work session next week.

• voted to allow the police department to purchase a new vehicle.

According to Stephens, the department has purchased one new vehicle every year since 2011, with the exceptions of two in 2015 and none last year.

This vehicle will replace one of the department’s current vehicles, which will then be surplused out.

The new vehicle will be a Chevrolet Tahoe at a cost of just over $36,000 and the money will come from the city’s court fund. Police Chief Jared Hall said the vehicle is ready to be put on the road as soon as it’s picked up. The council also approved an additional $1,200 for a computer and printer for the vehicle and $1,300 for stripes and cages for it.