From the Mayor: Fall Brings Leaves, Child Safety Concerns, and Elections Print


By Mary C. Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville

Oct. 11, 2017:  It is that time of year again--crisp air, pumpkins, freshly picked apples, and falling leaves.

Our leaf collecting begins mid-month and continues until early December. Almost incredible, our annual leaf removal costs regularly top $100k per season, and this does not include the additional cost of repairing clogged drains, as rainstorms routinely send the leaves directly into our storm sewer system. Drains clogged with leaves also vastly increase the risk of localized flooding.

Leaf Removal:  We continue to ask you to embrace the LELE "love 'em and leave 'em" program of mulching in place that so many of our neighboring communities have adopted.

The program, initiated in the Village of Irvington, is an effort to change habits and realize that our fall ritual of disposing of leaves curbside is actually wasteful, expensive, and unnecessary. There are multiple advantages to simply mowing the leaves back into the lawn. 

There is a significant cost saving to the village for fall leaf collection and disposal. As an example, Irvington has calculated their costs associated with leaf removal, and Bronxville's expenditures are much the same.  They spend $30K in dumping fees alone for vacuuming up and carting leaves away upstate. Combine that cost with labor costs, equipment maintenance, and gas--hence, the seasonal cost of $100K.

Mulching in place also greatly eliminates the need for leaf blowers, which may be used in the village in fall from October 1. Not only do leaf blowers generate significant noise and particulate matter, but the power of the engine at 150 mph (200 mph is akin to a jet plane) will systematically remove layers of soil, leaving yards pristine but extremely unhealthy.

Mulched leaves are a low-cost way to naturally fertilize one's lawn and landscape beds. Mulched leaves increase the water retention capacity of soil, especially useful for absorbing rainwater run-off. Mulch increases the nutrients in the soil as well as the biological activity of earthworms, microbes, and other beneficial organisms. Leaf mulch is more nutritious and more safe than commercial products. Most commercial mulch is actually the byproduct of dead trees that have often died from diseases.

Mulch as a natural fertilizer eliminates the need for commercial products that can prove dangerous to pets and the purity of our water systems.

When the piles of leaves on the streets begin to decay, harmful phosphates and nitrogen are released, eventually ending up in our sewer system and ultimately the Bronx River.

These same leaf piles are also a significant traffic hazard, as they are often placed in narrow roadways creating a slippery road surface.

Gardening companies already own the low-cost mulching blade and can retrofit mowers quite easily. Most new residential grade mowers also now come with a mulching blade for home gardeners at a nominal cost.

Yard waste:  If you choose not to participate in the mulch-in-place initiative, leaves must remain at curb's edge but on private property so our vacuum track can easily collect them. Yard waste such as branches and shrub trimmings cannot be comingled with the leaves, as they will clog the leaf truck. They should be placed curbside in biodegradable bags.

Organic Lawn Care:  This is also the time of year to discuss any changes in the care of your property with your landscape professional. We urge you, like the village, to opt for organic lawn care products. They are not more costly, 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 water run-off that go directly into our drainage systems.

Child Safety:  The fall also signals the return of all the children to our village for school and play. In order to increase the safety of all those now walking about the village, our village-wide speed limit is 30 mph, the lowest allowed by New York State. The only exemption is the 20-mph limit permitted in marked school zones. Any further speed reduction requires New York State legislation and must be predicated on documented evidence of accident rates, speeding data, and traffic volume, something the village cannot demonstrate.

In spite of repeated requests from residents, the village cannot install "children at play" or "slow/children" signs because state and federal standards reject their use, as they openly suggest that playing in the street is acceptable and give children a false sense of security. On the other hand, signs that alert drivers to playgrounds are encouraged because the parks are often located in places where a reasonable driver would not expect a large group of children. Sagamore Park is a prime example. 

Election Season:  Finally, it is also election season, with important local positions contested, including that of county executive, county legislator, and town supervisor.

If you are unsure of your polling place, please click here for more details. 

There are four polling locations in the village:
•  Concordia College, Districts 16 &17
•  The Reformed Church, Districts 18, 19 & 21 (formerly at Bronxville School)
•  Christ Church, District 20
•  NYP Lawrence Hospital, District 22 

This is a county-run election and any questions regarding the election should be directed to the Westchester County Board of Elections at 914-995-5285.