Weekly Feature

2018-06-14 / Front Page

Brush pickup remains thorny issue

Town considers three notifications a year about collection

The ongoing struggle of understanding the particulars of brush collection by AA Snow Removal LLC is leading the Town Board to explore telling residents three times a year when their collection will occur and what the collection will entail.

(See editorial on page four)

Councilman Michael Sherry said during the June 6 Town Board work session that the town is talking about issuing a townwide mailing to inform residents of all the details regarding brush collection. Sherry said the mailing would cost $6,000.

The reasoning behind the mailing for Sherry is that not everyone in town reads stories in the paper on the rules for brush collection, or are a part of the Code Red alert system. A Code Red alert on brush collection was sent out at the beginning of May.

“It seems the problem became worse from Snowvember [the November 2014 storm] on because we were helping people with so many trees and limbs down, and that’s carried over,” Sherry said. “It might not be well-received if all of a sudden we’re citing people because it’s been in The Bee and that we did Code Red, but now people have been trained and are used to a particular way and we’re going to turn around and cite everybody.

“I think there’s no excuse that we put a mailing out that has all the regulations on the brush pickup and from that point forward, we do what we have to do legally.”

The citing of homeowners has to do with brush being placed in the roadway, which is in violation of a town ordinance. For years, Police Chief Mark Pacholec has made it abundantly clear that brush cannot be placed in the road because it causes a safety issue for motorists and pedestrians.

Before the Code Red alert was sent out, Pacholec said he was planning to place officers in the village-sized Eagle Heights subdivision, a longstanding problem area for brush collection due to the square footage and amount of trees. The Town Board told Pacholec to hold off on citations until the alert was sent to see if residents would adhere to the ordinance and remove the brush.

“It’s a problem; we’ve said that,” Sherry said. “We need to take some action. We’ve taken some action; it hasn’t solved all of it. My recommendation is we find the $6,000 and do the mailing. Then there’s no excuse at any household for what’s going on. There can’t be the claim, ‘I wasn’t notified’ and ‘You guys are a bunch of whatever they want to call us.’”

Tanglewood Drive West resident Christine Weyer said during the June 6 Town Board meeting that residents in the area of Eagle Heights still do not know where their brush should be placed or when crews will be arriving to pick it up.

“I don’t feel like I should be the town crier,” Weyer said.

Weyer also made the suggestion of using the Recreation Department brochure that is sent out twice a year to notify residents about the collection. She added that if information is placed on the cover, there’s a better chance of everyone knowing what is going on regarding brush. Sherry said the brochure was discussed in the work session.

Dan Teplesky, a resident of Middlebury Road, said the information about what can and can’t be collected in brush pickup could also be published in the monthly Eagle Heights subdivision magazine, “In the Heights.”

Teplesky, also a resident in the subdivision, thanked Highway Superintendent Fred Piasecki for putting a crew up in Eagle Heights for a week at the end of May to clean up the brush-filled area.

Teplesky called out AA Snow Removal LLC, which is essentially the same company as the previous contractor, Buffalo and Orchard Park Topsoil, except with a different name and new owner. Before the new three-year contract was entered into in April, residents complained for years about Buffalo and Orchard Park Topsoil’s pickup and cleanup measures.

“I understand that it’s not the same company, but I look and it’s the same trucks with a different name, the same individuals who were picking up last year, and they do the same not-so-good job as they’ve done in the past,” Teplesky said.

Upon seeing a discrepancy between where the contractor is supposed to be on the town website and where they end up picking up brush, Teplesky asked if the company provides a log of its location and if the town keeps track of it.

Piasecki said the company does provide a log but said the town is trying to get the contractor to be more specific as to what street the company will be working on to inform residents. He added that those logs are then sent to Supervisor Patrick Keem.

Feeling frustrated that the town is spending $130,200 for collection this year for what he termed subpar work, Teplesky, who said his brush hasn’t been picked up in three weeks, questioned the board on whether money would be deducted from the contract, since the Highway Department had to clean up Eagle Heights for a week.

Due to the town covering for the contractor, Piasecki said, AA Snow Removal LLC will handle brush pickup through November. Usually the contract ends on Oct. 31. Keem added that the board did expect the Highway Department to take on some overlap because of the large amount of brush for the season.

Keem said the contractor is supposed to hit all streets in the town every two weeks.

In an email to The Bee, another resident, Suzanne Ernst of Hillsboro Drive, said that as of May 30, her brush hadn’t been picked up in six weeks.

“I agree with you; a month is ridiculous,” said Keem in regard to the delayed pickup for residents.

A decision on how to inform residents of pickup will be arrived at shortly, according to Sherry. The mailing would be sent out immediately if agreed upon, Sherry said.

A meeting was held with AA Snow Removal LLC on June 8 to discuss pickup and staying within the contract. Piasecki said the contractor would be told that if another contractor has to be brought in to take care of other work, that will be deducted from AA Snow Removal’s contract. The potential deduction was part of the original contract, according to Piasecki and Keem.

The next meeting of the Town Board will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 27, in Town Hall, 4295 S. Buffalo St., Orchard Park.

email: cgraham@beenews.com

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