Stonington Doing Away With Leaf Pickup Program

Raking up leaves is a chore for anyone and for those who live in Stonington, it’s about to get even tougher.

An aching state budget forced Connecticut towns to make cuts. The Town of Stonington slashed its Leaf Pickup Program.

Under the program, residents were able to put leaves near the curbside and twice during the season, the town vacuumed them up.

“We keep paying more and more and get less and less,” said David Decastro, who lives in Stonington.

He was surprised to find out about the program cut and is concerned about ridding of his leaves, especially since he doesn’t have a truck to take them to the Stonington Transfer Station.

The cut saves the town $100,000 that will go toward funding the manpower and equipment for town infrastructure projects, according to Stonington Highway Supervisor Tom Curioso.

“We’re able to do other projects that need doing where the roads are in disrepair. We’re able to do our paving preparation,” Curioso said.

The leaf collection program has been around for 15 to 20 years. For the last two or three, it’s gone into January, which sometimes conflicts with crews preparing for winter operations, according to Curioso.

The town will still pick up leaves in common-use areas prone to flooding to make sure they don’t get into catch basins—the original reason the pickup program launched and then expanded over the years, he said.

Some residents said they don’t mind the program cut. They either dispose of, compost or push the leaves into the woods on their own.

“We don’t do all that work and then leave them on the side of the road and wait for somebody to come along and pick them up,” said Anny Payne, of Stonington.

Others, like William McCrary, said it’s already a lot of work just raking up the leaves from the two big maple trees in his backyard and hauling them out front for the town to pick up.

“I’d probably have to make four or five trips to the dump to haul off what they suck up in 15 or 20 minutes,” McCrary said.

On its website, Stonington’s Department of Public Works stated when bringing leaves to the Stonington Transfer Station, keep them free of trash, they can be delivered in paper leaf bags, but those transported in plastic bags must be emptied at the site.

For alternatives to raking and questions about disposal, click here.

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