Yard waste pick-up in Geneseo will no longer be offered as a free service.

Yard waste pick-up in Geneseo will no longer be offered as a free service.

Starting April 1, customers who want yard waste picked up at the curb will either have to pay a yearly subscription fee or purchase individual tags.

The change is part of a new five-year contract between the city and Republic Services.

When the original five-year contract was negotiated, it was the first such contract the City of Geneseo had ever had.

As a result, no data existed on the tonnage of garbage, recycling or yard waste that Republic could expect to collect from the community.

“They say our yard waste is a major issue. More so than in other communities,” City Administrator Lisa Kotter previously explained. “We’re the only community to offer unlimited yard waste.

When community leaders evaluated the community, they found only 50 percent of the refuse customers utilizing the yard waste service.

Knowing that Geneseo’s garbage rates were set to increase anyway, aldermen were faced with two options: a smaller increase that covers garbage and recycling only or a larger increase to cover garbage, recycling and yard waste.

“We didn’t want to make everybody pay a lot more for a service only half of the residents were using,” explained Kotter.

On March 1, the city’s garbage rates increased from $12.95 a month to $14.95 a month, an amount that will be locked-in for the next five years. In addition to recycling and garbage, the fee will cover the annual spring and fall clean-up as well as a summer electronic recycling day.

For those wanting to dispose of their yard waste, several options remain.

For individuals who already own a yellow lid yard waste bin, an $80-per-year fee (paid once annually) will cover weekly yard waste pick up April 1 through Nov. 30.

Customers who have their garbage collected on Thursdays will have yard waste picked up on Mondays, while Friday garbage customers will have yard waste picked up on Tuesdays. Yard waste must be to the curb by 6 a.m. and bins must be at least three feet from any obstacle in order to allow the truck’s mechanical arm to grab the bin.

Those not owning a yard waste bin can purchase either a 95 or 65 gallon bin for a fee.

Residents who have more material than will fit in a single yard waste cart or those who don’t want to subscribe to the weekly yard waste collection may place yard waste in brown Kraft bags. To be picked up, each bag must have a yard waste tag.

Tags will be sold at city hall and at various retailers in town. (A list of retailers offering tags will be available on the city’s website.) Each tag is $3, and tags will only be sold in $15 sheets. The tags have no expiration date.

The weight limit for yard waste bins will be 50 pounds, while a 40-pound limit is in place for Kraft bags.

In addition, a bundled pile of brush no longer than two feet in diameter by five feet in length and not weighing more than 50 pounds also will require a tag. Permits for unbundled brush are available at city hall.

Tags can only be placed on Kraft bags or brush bundles. They cannot be placed on yard waste bins for those who own a bin, but opt not to pay for the subscription service.

Residents may also subscribe to a shorter fall-only weekly yard waste pick up from Oct. 15 through Nov. 30 for $30. (Those who’ve paid the $80 annual fee will already be included in the fall pick-up.)

Those wishing to avoid paying yard waste fees may take their yard waste (not including grass clippings which are prohibited) to the city’s burn pile for free.

The burn pile is located off Roos Hill Road, near the humane society shelter. Items for the burn pile must be in Kraft bags or cardboard boxes.

The burn pile will be open from 8 a.m. to noon on April 7, 14, 21 and 28; May 5; June 2; July 7; Aug. 4; Sept. 1; Oct. 6, 13, 20 and 27; Nov. 3, 10 and 17; and Dec. 1.

If city staff sees a marked increase in the number of people using the burn pile, additional hours or dates may be added to that schedule, said Kotter.

Individual residents are prohibited from burning leaves, weeds or grass clippings within the city limits by Geneseo ordinance.

Information on the new yard waste program will be mailed to all current Geneseo refuse customers.

To order a yard waste bin or subscribe to a yard waste service, customers must contact Republic Services at (800) 233-9634.