Mt. Vernon Register-News

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June 7, 2014

Leaf burning debate starts

MT. VERNON — The City Council will be taking on the leaf burning issue during a council meeting Monday.

The council will review the leaf burning policy, which has been brought up over the past few years by residents and members of the council alike. In November 2013, the council approved a resolution to develop a plan for consideration and potential implementation to develop alternative ways to dispose of leaf and landscape waste by April 30.

The resolution was set to coincide with a new contract for waste pickup in the city this year. The new contract, whcih went into effect on May 1, includes 12-month landscape waste pickup — previously, landscape waste was picked up nine months of the year. The added months of landscape waste pickup allowed the city to maintain its resolution to “develop alternate methods of leaf and landscape waste disposal to the benefit of the citizens of Mt. Vernon” as stated in the November 2013 resolution.

A plan is in place, however, the council has not decided whether or not to ban burning of leaves and landscape waste in the city limits. At this time, the city allows leaf and landscape waste burning two times a year — from March 1 to April 30 and Oct. 1 through Dec. 15. Burning can only take place between the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Mondays during the burning period. Leaves are defined to include twigs, small branches, nuts and associated debris capable of being burned with leaves. Fires must be attended at all times and may only be set on private property, not public right-of-way, public streets or sidewalks.

In November, Councilman David Wood reminded the council of previous conversations about leaf burning.

“Each year when the leaves start to be burnt, there are numerous problems,” Wood said.

Several residents have come before the council at meetings to complain about leaf burning season, as recently as last month.

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