Most City services go on every day, out of sight and out of mind for the majority of Kent City residents.
The truth is, unless something goes wrong (think a water main break or traffic accident) you don’t necessarily notice us or even think about us.
We’re OK with that because when we understand that much of what we do to keep you safe, comfortable and happy to call Kent home goes on behind the scenes. No doubt we are are ready to be there in an instant when you need us, but 99% of the time you don’t have any reason to give your City workers a second thought.
All that goes out the window when it comes to leaf collection.
Leaf collection is one of those few highly visible and extremely popular City services that people usually can’t wait to see coming down their street. The leaf trucks can be a bit noisy but that’s usually music to residents’ ears who spent the weekend raking monster leaf piles to their front curbs in anticipation of the next pass of the City leaf truck.
Call us old school but our leaf collection crews still makes house calls, vacuuming up millions of leaves each season at your front stoop.
I realize there’s a sense of nostalgia for the smell of burning leaves in a crisp fall day but that Norman Rockwell image fades fast behind the clouds of smoke and particulate matter that leaf burning generates in the older, more dense neighborhoods common in Kent. One person’s childhood memory turns out to be an asthma attack for the next door neighbor.
City leaf collection to the rescue. Each year City crews collect in excess of 10,000 cubic yards of leaves.
In 2012 the City collected approximately 11,182 cubic yards of leaves or an equivalent of 1,677 tons of leaves. That works out to be about 500 pounds of leaves per home inKent. By collecting and recycling the leaves as a compost supplement,Kent saves $80,600 by avoiding the tipping fees at the landfill – that’s about $12.00 saved on each resident’s trash bill.
Total leaves collected in 2012 were down, likely as a result of the dry/hot summer which produced less leaf growth than normal. Leaf drop is subject to weather conditions and in 2012 City leaf collection crews worked the full 6 weeks as the leaves did not fall all at once as they had in recent years. Consequently, the labor costs were higher as multiple collection runs were needed on each street in order to complete leaf collection. Those higher labor costs are illustrated in the charts below.