By Holly Cook
Roeland Park residents should not expect the city to accommodate requests for an extended leaf pickup program this year.
Roeland Park director of public works Jose Leon strongly advised against an extension during Monday’s city council workshop. Leon said the city utilizes the same equipment and staff for leaf pick up as snow and ice removal and emphasized it was important for leaf work to end in time to address winter weather.
“I do believe that we have to have a set program and a set schedule and we have to end it when it’s done and prepare ourselves for other weather,” he said.
Leon said city staff and councilors heard requests from Roeland Park residents to prolong the program. Final leaf pick up is scheduled for today Wednesday, Dec. 7.
Roeland Park also conducts the City of Westwood’s final leaf pick up on Dec. 8.
Councilor Teresa Kelly acknowledged it was unfortunate that trees were shedding their leaves so late in the year, making it more difficult for residents to utilize the program.
“There is no taming mother nature,” she said. “I don’t know what else we do with this other than keep communicating with our citizens and letting them know we are doing the best we can.”
Kelly and Councilor Sheri McNeil noted concerns with residents putting the leaves out at incorrect times and raking them into the street. Roeland Park requests residents rake leaves to the back of the curb when the leaves are scheduled for pickup. Leaves are not supposed to be raked into the street.
McNeil said she was concerned with leaves remaining in the streets for prolonged periods and washing into the city’s water system, causing pollution.
“I just think we need to have a serious talk about this whole issue and see what can be done,” McNeil said.
The council agreed to evaluate the leaf program at an upcoming workshop. Councilor Michael Rhoades encouraged the council to add the discussion to an agenda in January or February.