The town of Whiteland will lend a helping hand to residents when leaves begin to fall this autumn.
The town plans to buy a $42,800 leaf vacuum with money from the town’s stormwater fund and will begin leaf collection services this fall, interim town manager Norm Gabehart said.
The leaf collection service will create two temporary jobs, which will pay around $10 an hour, Gabehart said.
Whiteland residents won’t have to pay a fee for the service, and the new vacuum will clean the entire town. Residents will need to rake leaves into a pile at the front of their yards.
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Whiteland is informing residents of the new service on their utility bills, Gabehart said.
The need for the service is primarily due to leaves that block storm sewer drains, Gabehart said. Having to clean leaves from storm drains after they blocked and stopped the stormwater system became too common a problem. That escalated the need to buy the vacuum and begin a leaf collection service, he said
Greenwood offers its curbside leaf pickup once every 10 to 15 business days from October through mid-December, according to the city’s website.
Franklin has had a free leaf collection service in some form for nearly 30 years, street commissioner Brett Jones said. The city has two machines that are used for leaf collection.
Both Franklin and Whiteland do limb collection, and they offer these services to residents almost year-round.
“This is a service we have continued that a lot of communities go away from,” Jones said. “I think it’s a service that is very much appreciated.”
Franklin and Whiteland collect limbs free of charge. Franklin now has a wood chipper for its limb service. Whiteland recently purchased a $34,000 truck to collect tree limbs, splitting the cost between the town’s street and stormwater departments.
With the storms and winds that have hit Johnson County this summer, Whiteland’s limb collection service has been busy. Several weeks ago, town workers collected limbs for five days straight, covering almost 320 residences, Gabehart said.
For areas where the county is responsible for similar upkeep duties, such as the Center Grove area, leaf collection isn’t provided.
Johnson County can’t provide the service because it doesn’t have the funding to pay for the equipment and the employees the job would require, Johnson County Highway Department Director Luke Mastin said. The inability of the county to provide that service is not uncommon, he said.
Residents in unincorporated areas outside city and town limits that fall under the county’s jurisdiction can contact Johnson County Recycling District, Mastin said.
Johnson County Recycling District and McCarty Mulch, located on State Road 37 near Center Grove, partnered to provide a place for residents to drop off limbs, leaves and branches. Residents must have a voucher, which they can obtain for free from the Johnson County Recycling District, in order to drop off leaves and limbs.
Vouchers are available to the first 250 Johnson County residents.
The following local communities offer leaf removal and pickup services: