Geneseo Council reviews Clean Up Day restrictions, calls for public nuisance on dead trees

Beth Welbers
Geneseo Republic

At the July 26 Geneseo Council meeting, City staff requested a review of the Clean Up Days policy. Currently Geneseo holds a clean up day in both the spring and fall with a door to door collection of items placed at the curb. This is an attempt to address regular complaints to the City during that period.

The proposal by city staff was to go from a curbside pickup to a centralized location drop off for items that would normally be placed curbside. This move would save the City approximately $5000 per event. It would also eliminate complaints by residents about junk piles appearing weeks ahead of the collection, people digging through piles, leaving them scattered across the block and debris blowing around. Currently electronics, construction materials and toilets are prohibited during this collection, as well.

Considerable discussion occurred with all of the Council members contributing. Concerns about some citizens being unable to transport their items to the central location was expressed, as well as the "scrappers" who recycle useable items, keeping them out of landfill. The police were requested to begin enforcement a week ahead of collection.

The reminder was made that every resident has the right to a monthly large item (sofa, mattress, etc.) pickup, with a call to the City to arrange it.

Mayor Sean Johnson agreed that clean up days can be a larger problem than anyone realized, and asked the staff for input. The Council will look for changes to the ordinance in the near future, that would outline acceptable participation and impose fines on eyesore collections. At this time, fall Clean Up Days will not be affected, but the 2023 dates will likely have more restrictions.

The city staff also requested that dead trees be considered a Public Nuisance, in order that effective management of public health and safety concerns can occur. Numerous dead trees can be found in the city, with the possibility of coming down and taking with it overhead lines. The proposal was that a tree be declared dead by a certified arborist, at which point the resident would need to remove the tree, or face enforcement. Councilman Martin Rothschild noted that it often costs $3000 - $4000 to take down a tree, but the city has been know to work with homeowners in the past. Keith Kennett motioned to have the dead trees declared a nuisance, which was approved, with Craig Arnold as the dissenting vote.

Several members of the public were on hand to voice concerns regarding the addition of turn lanes at Ogden and State. Some of those were parking for the vet service on the block, traffic on State crossing over Ogden during high traffic periods, pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Mayor Johnson stated that this was the best option today, and that if it didn't work, paint is cheap, and we can try something different. Several residents urged a study looking for a long term traffic solution.

An Electronics Collection day will be held on Saturday August 20. A full list of allowed and prohibited items is on the City's Facebook page. The event is free for residents, and fees will be charged for non-residents.