Editor's Note: There is audio attached to this article from the township's workshop meeting and the follow-up regular meeting discussing the leaf and tree cleanup.
Please take care of your own trees.
"It annoys me to no end that with the high taxes we pay, that they are not going to pick up the debris," reader Laurie said in an email to Patch.
At any rate, that's the message the Township Committee wants to get across to residents in the form of a letter to be sent out this week. The reminders of Superstorm Sandy that lay on streets throughout town will pose a safety risk, commissioners said, once a snow storm hits.
"We’re going to tell people to get picked up by the contractor that you’ve already paid [for tree removal] ," said Commissioner Ed O'Malley, "Or, we’re going to go around and collect it and you’re going to get a bill."
According to Steve Wardell, superintendent of the Cranford Department of Public Works leaf and debris collection was dealt a setback due to the severity of Sandy. "We basically spent the first two weeks of leaf season just picking up the branches." Wardell's plan, he said, is to get all leaves off the streets by this week and the rest of the small branches by Dec. 21.
"Then we’re going to do a third and final pass for leaves by the end of the Christmas holiday," he said. Jan. 2 to Jan. 4, according to Wardell are the target dates for a last sweep. Dec. 26 to Dec. 28 are the planned dates to collect the bulk of the branches and limbs that are 4-inches in diameter or less. That means no big tree parts.
The tree trunks and logs, leftovers from contract tree cuttings following the storm are the real worry. "You’ll see some tree trunks out in the street that will defeat the [snow] plow," said Interim Township Administrator Eric Mason.
Wardell says the big tree collection is out of his hands at the moment. He said there's an estimated 500 trees that fell due to Sandy (for which FEMA funds are expected to be available), but the clean-up of tree trunks, "is the wild card," he said.
Trees currently in the streets are not city trees, according to Commissioner Kevin Campbell, who is Commissioner of Public Works. "We are sending out a letter to the residents and advising them that it's their duty to get trees and the logs cleaned up," he said. "For the sake of public safety."
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