Aldermen decide to “leave” burning ordinance alone; street vacuum going away

By Gary Scott on April 15, 2015 at 7:29am

It may be spring, but this week’s Jacksonville Planning and Public Works Committee meeting had a decidedly autumn tone.

Aldermen discussed several issues Monday related to the cleanup and disposal of fall foliage, including the city’s brush drop-off site, leaf burning, and discontinuing the use of the city-operated leaf vacuum.

Jacksonville Street Department Superintendent Les Ballinger told aldermen he wants to get rid of the Leaf Vac, but that the city will continue to pick up bagged leaves.

“The vacuum, we’ve had it for quite a few years, and it’s just gotten old and outdated. For instance, last year, it took us a month and a half to do the leaves with the vacuum. It takes a lot of manpower,” Ballinger says. “A lot of times, when we used to just do bags and we used to pick the bags up, it took the whole town in two weeks. So, just trying to save some time and manpower and money.”

Ballinger told aldermen the Leaf Vac only serves half the city. He also noted that people can use the Jacksonville brush drop-off site at 202 West Oak, which is open from the beginning of April to the end of November.

Leaf burning was also discussed. While it’s not allowed in the city, it is permitted in the Village of South Jacksonville- something on which Ward 2 Alderwoman Lori Large Oldenettel commented.

“Because I do live on Michigan Avenue- that’s the dividing line between Jacksonville and South Jacksonville- oftentimes when South Jacksonville burns, there are neighbors that do complain about the smoke drifting over and people not being able to have their windows open,” says Oldenettel.

Aldermen agreed during their discussion on the matter that introducing a leaf-burning ordinance in the city is not something they want at this time.