St. Joseph County establishing leaf pickup plans

Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 5:42 PM EDT
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ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - There’s a deal in the works to offer leaf pickup services to St. Joseph County residents for the next three years.

Once again, the county would subsidize the rates homeowners pay to the pickup provider (St. Joseph County Recycling).

Once again, the deepest discounts would go to the customers who are the first to sign up.

“We didn’t have as many discounts, early bird discounts as we needed. So, we doubled the number of early bird subscriptions, so now 3,000 people, up to 3,000 can get in at the $99-price,” said commission president Andrew Kotielney.

In 2020, a total of 1,500 early bird subscriptions were funded at a total cost to the county of $350,000. This year, the first 3,000 customers to subscribe will qualify for the discounted rate at a total cost of $424,000.

“Nothing is perfect, but I think this is a very viable thing for residents to be part of,” said commissioner Derek Dieter.

The agreement calls for a minimum of four pickup passes from the third Monday in October to mid-December, weather permitting.

Also this year, the leaf pickup company will take over call center responsibilities—dealing directly with customer concerns and complaints.

Furthermore, the three-year agreement promises to provide some much-needed stability and consistency where leaf pickup is concerned. “It’s been every year for at least the last five or six years, it’s been, ‘this might be the last year, there might not be a program,’ so I think that will also really help citizens moving forward knowing here’s a plan, it’s going be consistent. They know what they’re going to be paying, and we can move forward,” Kostielney said.

Last year’s leaf pickup program was not finalized until mid-August. It marked the first year the county went from covering all the program costs, to sharing those costs by subsidizing homeowner rates.

“We’ve got three people working collaboratively to get stuff going and again, you’re right, this is something we all talked about, let’s get it done, yadda, yadda, yadda. So, again, we’re not scrambling with the end of summer and fall and not having a program,” added Commissioner Dieter.

The early bird rate of $99 offered in 2021, would increase to $149 in 2022, and to $189 in 2023.

Customers who do not receive the early bird rate but subscribe before October 1, 2021 would pay $149.00 based on a single lot of one acre or less. That rate would increase to $229 in year three of the contract.

The agreement calls for the early bird sign up to begin on June 1st, 2021 and switch to April 1, in ensuing years.

The contract calls for a minimum of four leaf pickup passes, weather permitting, starting the third Monday in October through mid-December.

The agreement will go before the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners at a meting scheduled for 10:00 a.m. Tuesday.

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