Clean-up of Tree Brush From Sandy Still Problematic in Shrewsbury
Tree limbs and branches are left lining streets as Shrewsbury residents continue to remove brush from their properties after the clean-up deadline.
When Superstorm Sandy hit New Jersey on Oct. 29, it left widespread downed trees and branches all across Shrewsbury.
Now that many residents are continuing to place felled tree debris out on curbs after a deadline set previously by the Department of Public Works, the complete removal of this brush continues to be problematic for the borough.
As announced at a previous Shrewsbury Borough Council meeting, the borough hired Atlantic Tree Service to grind up collected tree limbs and brush, costing about $6,000 a day for three to four days of work. Many residents, nevertheless, missed the deadline for leaving brush out on the curb, causing clean-up problems to heighten.
The governing body again discussed the problem at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 18, four days after the brush pickup deadline.
"We went around town three or four times picking up the brush and all that stuff. We put it out on the marquee that [Dec. 14] was the last day to put out the brush," explained councilman Michael DeNofa. "Well, people had their own tree people come in to cut the trees up and pile the stuff in the street, and it's still continuing."
DeNofa went on to ask if there was any way the council could add a section to the borough's already existing cleanup ordinance — or create an entirely new one — that would require these third party tree clean-up crews to dispose of the brush themselves. Currently, Shrewsbury is not only running out of room, but incurs additional costs by having to haul the brush to Eatontown for disposal, officials said.
Council members debated the various issues of brush cleanup in the town, as well as their differing opinions on who should be responsible for it.
"I think it should be up to the homeowner because a lot of homeowners burn the wood," Borough Attorney Martin M. Barger said. "But [the brush] shouldn't be put at the curb."
Councilman William Dodge nevertheless said that regardless of who removes tree limbs and brush from properties, the main issue is the date. "Put it out on the curb within the date. People are paying taxes, they expect to get these services," he said. "I don't particularly think that a change is ... all we're doing is shifting the cost from the Eatontown side to the homeowner's."
The debate nevertheless turned to whether or not the borough could (and should) really enforce the brush cleanup timeframe on residents. Some council members stated that homeowners receive the calendar every year but so far compliance with the cleanup dates has not been truly enforced.
It is unclear when and if any additional brush clean-up days will be added. "No specific date has been determined when it's going to come back," DeNofa said.