Leaf Collection Program Gets Underway this Fall in New Lenox

Letter of Credit policy for developers is up for review.

The is introducing a Leaf Collection Program beginning in October.

Kurt Carroll, village administrator, unveiled plans at Monday's village board meeting. While the details of the program have yet to be finalized, he said the village is looking to dispatch leaf vacuum trucks regularly on Mondays in the fall.

Having raked in a good deal of experience in village-sponsored leaf programs in the past, including one he initiated in the Village of Shorewood, Carroll further investigted similar programs in surrounding communities. Already, the Village of Frankfort, Frankfort Township and the City of Lockport implement annual leaf collection programs.

"It's a nice benefit for the residents," he added. The older subdivisions, of course, will benefit the most because the trees are mature. Eventually, the newer neighborhoods will take on the same autumn task. 

The process is simple, he said. Residents need only to rake their leaves to the parkway. They don't have to bag them, just spread out the piles and the vacuum can suck them up. 

There are a few guidelines to follow: 

  • Place leaves on the parkway parallel to the street and approximately 12 inches beind the curb or edge of the pavement.       
  • Do not include any debris such as garden materials, brush, cans, paper, bottles, construction materials and the like.
  • Do not pile leaves behind obstacles such as: parked vehicles, trees, mailboxes, fire hyrants or streetlights.

The most important issue concerning a leaf vacuuming program is making sure that the leaf piles are not blown into the street. If they get into the street, then they're bound to clog up the sewers or blow away as soon as the slightest breeze comes through. 

The advantage of piling the leaves and spreading them out on the parkway is that the grass will serve as a natural place holder. The slight dip in the parkway is actually referred to as a "windrow." Like a windowsill, it's a bit depressed. These elements together work well to hold the leaves in place, he said.

In preparation for the Leaf Collection Program, the village board approved the purchase of a $42,000 leaf vacuum vehicle. Staff members are currently talking to with plans to make use of their under-utilized leaf vacuum. 

So the first year of the program is expected to begin with two designated vehilces. 

Carroll said he expects it will take some time before the system is as reliable as green leaves going red, orange and yellow. "It's going to take a lot of education," he added. The village staff is working on brochure materials and other educational materials at the moment. 

The existing bag system Nu-Way Disposal will continue at least through this year, said Carroll. Homeowners will have a choice of paying for stickers and bag pick up or taking advantage of the totally free program operated by the village. 

Letter of Credit policy is under review

The village board also heard a recommendation by Carroll to update the Letter of Credit policy as it pertains to developers.

In recognition of the slow pace of development for homes, industrial parks, office and commericial properties, Carroll suggested the board take a fresh look at the length of time that it holds on to a developer's funds while waiting for the final phase of the development. 

It used to be that a large track of homes--maybe 100 or more--would be broken into smaller developments that would be completed in a few years. Now, however, that pace has slowed significantly. That places a hardship on the developers because their money is tied up for as long as 10 years, he said. 

What that means for a developer is that 10 percent or more of the project's funds for infrastructure is held hostage. Putting that amount in perspective, he said if a project has $2 million worth of infrastructure, that means at least $200,000 is out of circulation. The developer can't reinvest in the community. 

On the other hand, the village is highly guarded when it comes to releasing funds early. Trustee David Smith said, "we have to protect the village."

In any development, said Smith, the developer would perform the basic task of putting in the street. However, developers are unlikely to spend money on finishing that street with the final coat until the subdivision is filled-out. They don't want to invest in completing the streets with the final layer when they know that trucks and heavy vehicles will be need to complete the latter built structures. The heavy equipment vehicles will tear up the street. 

By holding onto the letter of credit, the village has assurances, a warranty, that secures infrastructure improvements.           

Carroll and Village Attorney Chris Spesia have reviewed customary plans used by other municipalities in the region. As a reference, he said, "we took the best" of what information was available. Ultimately, any program will be shaped to reflect the best interests of New Lenox.   

There are two aspects to consider in this policy review in regard to letters of credit or surities: attempting to assist the developers and to maintain the village's reputation as "business friendly, and keeping the best interest of the New Lenox taxpayer in mind. 

Board members Ray Tuminello and Nancy Dye concurred that "a balance" is essential. 


sells July 25, 2012 at 01:28 PM
My inconsiderate neighbors just blow their leaves into the street so that they blow away into someone else's yard, and down the street into the storm sewers. If it's illegal to blow snow into the street, this should be illegal as well. How about it village board?


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