From the Office of the Mayor
By Mayor Mary Marvin
October 24, 2022
In a sure sign of fall, the Village’s leaf collection process has already begun and will last until early December.
Almost incredulous, the annual leaf removal process regularly tops $100,000 per season in tax dollars and this does not include the additional costs of repairing clogged drains as rain storms routinely send leaves left in the road directly into our storm sewers.
In a positive effort, both on the financial and ecological fronts, we ask that you either bag your leaves or if not possible, keep them on your property and off the Village streets and right of way.
Based on our extensive drain-cleaning program undertaken over the summer, it was quite clear that drain capacity was inhibited by a proliferation of leaves that went directly into our system. Not only do the leaves affect our water conveyance but as they begin to decay on the streets, harmful phosphates and nitrates are released eventually ending up in the Bronx River, further polluting those waters. The same leaf piles are also a significant traffic hazard as they are often placed on narrow roadways creating slippery road surfaces.
As a result of all of the above, we continue to ask that you embrace the “love ‘em and leave ‘em” program of mulching leaves in place which is being practiced with increased frequency by our neighboring communities. Mulching in place has a whole range of benefits. It is the low-cost way to naturally fertilize one’s lawn and landscape beds and mulched leaves increase the water retention capacity of soil, the nutrients in soil as well as the biological activity of earthworms, microbes and other beneficial organisms.
Natural mulch is also much safer than any commercial products as most commercial mulch is actually the byproduct of dead trees which have often died from diseases.
Most all gardening companies own the mulching blade for their mowers as the cost is relatively low and they can retrofit the mowers quite easily .Most new residential grade mowers also now come with the mulching blade for home gardeners at a nominal additional cost.
Mulching in place also greatly eliminates the need for leaf blowers which now as a result of our more stringent regulation are only allowed from October 15th to December 15th of this year but you will be hearing them I am sure in the coming month or so.
Not only do the leaf blowers, as you know, generate significant noise especially noticed by those now working at home and trying to conduct professional zoom calls that require great concentration and a quiet background, but the incredibly powerful engine in those blowers also systematically removes layers of soil, leaving yards pristine but completely unhealthy. According to the EPA, a new gas powered leaf blower produces as much air pollution in one hour of operation as 11 new cars do when they are each driven for one hour.
Fall is also a good time of year to discuss your landscape plans in general and decide on perhaps changes in the care of your property. We urge you, as the Village has on municipally owned property, to opt for organic lawn care products as their costs are now very competitive with the other chemically infused products and most area landscapers have the capability, if they are given enough lead-time, to order the proper materials.
If each homeowner committed to the organic approach, we could greatly decrease the airborne carcinogens and limit the contaminants in our runoff water.
On a much less pleasant fall topic, residents have reported the sighting of coyotes and/or bobcats most recently on one of the hilltop triangles.
Unfortunately, the Village’s high density proves not to be a deterrent to creatures who formally roamed in less populated environs as the State Department of Environmental Conservation has concluded that, “coyotes have wholly adapted themselves to suburban environments.”
The State Agency shared the following tips with me to convey to residents:
• Do not feed pets outside
• Make sure garbage cans are tightly sealed
• Make sure family pets are supervised especially from sunset on
• Enclose compost piles
• Remove high brush and tall grasses from around your house perimeter as coyotes are secretive and prefer to hide in protective cover
• Eliminate the availability of birdseed. Concentrations of birds and the rodents that often follow to feed on the site are favorite coyote prey
• If you see a coyote be aggressive in behavior, stand tall and hold arms out to look large; wave arms, make loud noises and even throw sticks and stones and most importantly report it to our police department.