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West Deptford Mayor Addresses Leaf Collection Issues at Gov't Meeting

Late-falling leaves and an early snowfall led to late pickup, Mayor Ray Chintall said. Committeewoman Denice DiCarlo said new equipment and overtime could have helped.

In the days since the season’s first snowfall, West Deptford Mayor Ray Chintall heard the same thing repeatedly: inconsistent leaf collection in the township is unacceptable.

On Thursday night, he agreed with his constituents.

“Before you interpret that as a blanket indictment of our West Deptford workforce, you are mistaken,” Chintall said when addressing the issue at Thursday night’s committee meeting.

Chintall said the late-falling leaves and the early snowfall affected leaf collection not just in the township, but throughout the area. He said he is requesting detailed information on leaf collection from the township Department of Public Works.

Chintall noted that two of the township’s three leaf collection machines were broken, but have since been repaired. One suffered a broken impeller, he said and the other broke by human error, possibly due to a lack of training.

Committeewoman Denice DiCarlo, who chairs the public works committee, reminded Chintall that she'd told him for two years they needed new equipment. Chintall countered that a brand new machine still would have suffered from a broken impeller.

DiCarlo also pointed to last year’s budget cuts, which saw the leaf collection budget fall from from $100,000 to $40,000. The township collects leaves in three rounds, and had to allow some public works employees overtime on Dec. 28 to ensure complete leaf pickup.

Weather didn’t permit earlier pickup, due to multiple days of snowfall and severe weather warnings that brought with it icy roads and associated dangers.

Still, DiCarlo argued, overtime should’ve been implemented earlier.

“You performed well in an emergency situation, but it was a situation of your own doing,” DiCarlo told Chintall. 

“In prior years, we had seasonal employees handle leaves and work weekends...if you’re going to tell us we can’t pick up leaves on Saturdays, that’s going to have an impact.”

Chintall said the decision to use overtime should be left up to management.

Initially, he said, the promise of overtime might lead to employees not working hard to get done quickly so they could pick up some overtime, but later clarified that he was speaking from his personal experience.

“I wasn’t directing that statement to our workers,” Chintall said following Thursday’s meeting. “Our workers work hard.”

The two broken leaf vacuum machines have been repaired, according to Chintall.

Lee January 18, 2014 at 08:37 AM
We live in a heavy wooded area of the township. This year there has been 3 collections of leaves - one in early October, one during Thanksgiving week, and one just this week. I could accept the explanation if this was the first year, but this is a consistent problem every year!
William Libby January 18, 2014 at 09:33 AM
Late falling leaves? New equipment will still break? Workers will slow down if we ask them for overtime? SERIOUSLY Mayor? Your inexplicable and incoherent excuses are disgraceful. The leaves fall the same time every year. It is usually in a season we call "fall" coincidentally. The fact is, you cut the budget which resulted in this failure. It is your failure along with Mr. Cianfarini's. You own it so you should take responsibility for it instead of constantly deflecting. You are an ineffective leader. You cut essential services, which you told us you wouldn't do and now we are the ones being impacted.
Eileen Dennery Mannion January 18, 2014 at 11:35 AM
Three collections? Must be nice. I guess we live in the wrong section of the township. The first collection in Red Bank Estates was early November, when the leaves are still dancing on the trees so of course it was minimal, and the second collection here wasn't until after the first of the year. Every year there are no places to park when my family comes for Christmas due to the piles of leaves in front of our home. It is interesting that some areas are accorded a third pickup. Hmmmm.....
Dr. Kenneth Nosewater January 18, 2014 at 01:17 PM
My leaves started to pile up and were subsequently removed. The next pickup was just before the first snow storm in December and were removed. Two pickups were sufficient. Excellent job public works. Please ignore the rantings of the loyal Democrat soldiers on this forum. You can't expect anything of substance, just sour grapes. Oh! and Libby, on a side note, they never picked up my leaves timely when Docimo/White machine was in power. You had to beg at the twp meetings if they allowed it. That was your posse.
Gary Kuehnapfel January 18, 2014 at 02:19 PM
To Dr. Kenneth Nosewater: It's funny this leaf & snow removal problem didn't seem to be as big a problem when the Dem.'s were in control. Did you enjoy your tax candy? May you live in a more affluent part of town where these problems don't effect you----good for you. However the people who live in these areas, where problems exist are only told that there's no money to fix them. Why's that? Could it possible be the July 25th, 2013 budget that this admin. underfunded? Where's all this money saved going? Maybe it's going for political tax candy, expensive Rep. business that have not done anything for the residents of this town, or overpaid unqualified mangers and professionals, or political witch hunts. This cut only approach has only hurt us and not moved us forward. You keep bringing up the last admin.'s $150m debt. What have they done to bring that down. NOTHING!!! In fact the only thing they have done is increase our debt.
Dr. Kenneth Nosewater January 18, 2014 at 05:07 PM
Gary, Everything you just mentioned is pure conjecture. Nothing you said is factual and has no basis. You cannot backup just one of your assertions. I only posted once on this thread and nowhere in my text does it say anything about a $150 million debt. You make these accusations up in your head all the time. Please tell me you have something to say that is the truth. Please tell me you're in "The Loop" and know what I don't know. Please post something that's truthful and not what someone told you to type.
EaglesFan January 19, 2014 at 02:51 AM
I don't have a strong opinion either way on the leaf collection issue. I try not to get involved with the political back and forth with many of these posters. I am just stating what I do personally and is only a suggestion for homeowners. I get a lot of leaves on my yard in the fall and mulch them up with my mower and leave them right on the lawn and also bag some of the mulched leaves and place in compost and flower beds. It is much better than placing on street and is very good for your lawn. I never have any leaves to be picked up. Maybe the leaf collection would be a non issue and we could save a ton of money if we just mulched them up with the mower and composted the leaves.
Gary Kuehnapfel January 19, 2014 at 08:57 AM
To Dr. Kenneth Nosewater: Your right! You didn't mention the $150m debt THIS TIME. However I thought I would bring it up first before you did, which you and your fellow rightees do in almost every thread. That debt was the last admin.'s debt and the Rep.'s won control over the twp. because of it. So far other and than make the bond payments, this Rep. admin. has increased the debt with a $33m Sunoco settlement which was rushed and not necessary at this time. We paid $40k to a Rep. connected company that was suppose to generate income from gov./business partnerships. So far SQUAT! We spent $60k on fireworks and took away $60k from leaf collection. We have two unqualified people running our twp., making over $50k a year.Those jobs in retail would be less than $45k. That's what I mean by overpaid emplyees. In there zest to find a so called missing $4m dollars from the last admin. we now have to pay $10m because they opened a can of worms. Not to mention all the legal fees for these witch hunts, plus fees for press releases. When the dem's. were in control ---- yes taxes were raised, but twp. services & programs were funded.
Dr. Kenneth Nosewater January 19, 2014 at 09:27 AM
Gary, Gary, Gary, That's old news. But listen, I understand how you feel at loosing the majority. I felt that way when the Dem's were in control and we didn't have a clue of anything that was going on in this town unless you were a Democrat in the loop. Now at least you know who's who in the township plus their salaries and whatever Wayne comes up with. You are now living in the luxury of transparency Gary, you should be happy at now knowing all these things from the township meetings, good or bad. Have some faith brother, sit back and enjoy the ride. Oh! yeah, now that you mentioned it again, What about that $150 million debt? What's with that?
Dr. Kenneth Nosewater January 19, 2014 at 09:28 AM
Eaglesfan,,, I'm with you on the mulching.... save the planet.
Dr. Kenneth Nosewater January 19, 2014 at 09:56 AM
My picks today: Seattle and Denver
zeke carey January 19, 2014 at 11:59 AM
where does it say in the rule book that leaf collection is the responsibility of the township.and don't give me that crap my taxes pay for it.leaf collection is a service that can be done away with. the tax pie chart does not shoe leaf collection.it's nice service that the residents of the township enjoy but when they come around I'm grateful that they pick up the leaves for the people. Gary you're beating a dead horse I don't think the very few people that respond on here gives two hoots what you got to say.LIKE A BROKEN RECORD. BTW I did mention that Umba's position was just temporary. big ad in paper for township administrator.You people are always jumping the gun. Maybe Eric will re-apply.
Gary Kuehnapfel January 19, 2014 at 02:46 PM
To Zeke Carey: Even though Eric Campo is totally qualified. Somehow I don't think he's getting ready to reset the curtains. The only one who will get that job will be a Rep. yes person, who will look the other way when this admin. screws with the twp.
David Sileo January 19, 2014 at 06:59 PM
I like Denver and SF (and actually started this post at 11am but got side tracked). Wanted to comment on the leaf issue, WD services in general and the excellent comments of Eagles Fan, only one of a few. The rest were typical finger pointing and blame game. 1 The mayor gave a sincere overview of the leaf issue as it related to weather, budget and equipment breakdowns. Take him for his word that the committee is trying to keep our services constant and timely and I am confident the committee will work together to keep our services operating. 2 The ongoing debate about who is to blame for WDs debt as well as how the current budget effected slow leaf collection is ridiculous. We need to optimize and streamline our municipal services and flex employees as needed across township needs. Particularly when it comes to services. I am getting a sense that this is the path the mayor is trying to merge onto. Personally has a 30 year resident of WD I have found the vast majority of township employees to fantastic. Most of my contact has been with the folks in the field and there has probably been zero times that someone neglected to greet and say hello. I have found utter respect and know we have an incredible cadre of people to do the job to carry West Deptford forward. 3 The comment by Eagles Fan was spot on. I am by no means saying we should be doing the work of the township employees but if you look at some of our practices as humans that consume our trash and disposal habits may be unreasonable. Perhaps there is some small mulching practices one could undertake to lessen the burden of "waste". Recycling; I know just by the minimal requirmets we are so under the threshold of what we could recycle and teuse as a township. So again to EaglesFan point maybe we can step it up, do the right thing and take an extra step for our environment. By nature these sort of behaviors can lead to positive financial and better health outcomes. So EaglesFan I APPLAUD YOU for offering a true, sincere recommendation for making our township better!
zeke carey January 19, 2014 at 07:13 PM
that's all well and good about generating enuff initiative to mow and mulch. driving through the township there is not that many houses require leaf pick up.a lot of residents have private lawn care and fall services that provide the essential disposal of leaves. gary wasn't that the case when they appointed Eric he was a democrat and I'm sure there were individuals that were just as qualified no matter what party they belonged to. Like anything it's who you know RIGHT GARY.
David Sileo January 19, 2014 at 08:16 PM
Zeke-not quite sure which neighborhood your in. But even with sparse trees in the front of homes our neighborhood as many in WD generate a great amount of leaves. Agreed there are many residents utilizing lawn services (certainly not the majority) but most lawn services collect leaves but don't dispose of them theirselves but put them in the street for the township to pick up. So your argument for resident contribution is really not valid. Trash in your town, placing something in the right container across the country or plugging in your electrical vehicle (Ernie) is all things we need to ponder.

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