'Nasty' Residents Frustrated With Sandy Cleanup

Chatham Borough considers second brush pick-up.

The Chatham Borough Council agreed to consider a second brush pick-up through borough streets, but only after leaf pick-up finished and if the Department of Public Works was not overwhelmed with snow removal.

Chatham Borough Administrator Robert Falzarano said the DPW had already completed one round of brush pick-up after Tropical Storm Sandy hit the area. Now, he said, the DPW is focused on leaf pick-up.

"We went through and picked up the brush," Falzarano said, "and we left notice that we'd been through and we wouldn't be back."

After residents saw the notices, Falzarano said he received many phone calls and visits from borough residents, some quite "nasty," who said the residents were unaware of brush pick-up in their neighborhood.

DPW Director Robert Venezia also received phone calls and even visits in person from residents who have used profanity in expressing their disappointment, Falzarano said.

Borough Mayor Bruce A. Harris and other members of the council said they, too, had been contacted by residents, and throughout the borough, even after one brush pick-up, streets are still lined with tree limbs and logs.

"We can do a second brush pick-up, but there has to be a final date," Falzarano said. "And we have to be clear, this is brush collection, not tree collection."

No logs, no tree roots or trunks, and no limbs more than 4 inches in diameter will be collected. Even as the DPW proceeds with leaf collection, which is on through Dec. 16, Falzarano said they will vacuum leaves out from under brush and any brush over 4 inches will be left on the street.

Council President James Lonergan said this second collection was similar to the second collection done in 2011 after the October snow storm. "Do we really want to open that door again? We've cleaned it up once," he said.

Harris said there was a high demand for the second collection. "We've gotten a number of irate calls from people who missed the brush collection," he said.

The council will consider the second collection when they meet on Dec. 10.

Falzarano also said the borough has applied for recovery funding from Tropical Storm Sandy through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), but as of right now, "We do not have a date" for when the funding may be approved.

In the meantime, the mulch area is open daily through Dec. 8.

Chatsum November 28, 2012 at 12:32 PM
I feel if people would just read the borough website's information, they would know what is going on. I saw private lawn service people dump huge piles of leaves and tree parts,branches ,etc.in the street all mixed together. I for one ,if I was paying for this service would have them remove it as well. These are probably your "nasty" complainers.At this point people should now have to pay to remove this stuff. We all had ample time to put it at the curb.
heretoolong November 28, 2012 at 12:58 PM
If you had no power during the brush pickup, you couldn't access the website without a smartphone or computer. How would everyone have known about it?
Chatsum November 28, 2012 at 01:05 PM
I had no power either...went to library and work. Also the info was there well after the power went back on. Everyone had ample time.
Chip Stickman November 28, 2012 at 01:46 PM
So if Chatham has the trucks and the employees to pick up brush again why not do it? What the heck are they doing that is more important - building ramps for 2 weeks on the path to Milton Ave school? And maybe instead of blaming residents who were unaware of the schedule perhaps Mr. Lonergan should look at how get more effective with the Borough's communication- I have read several articles on Patch that referenced notices left at residents houses and neither my neighbors nor I ever received such notices. And if you're (allegedly) going to hand out flyers why not pass them out BEFORE the pick up so people could react? Get ready citizens...the Councils next great "solution" will be to have residents purchase brush collection passes if they want pick up!
Duncan Munchkin November 28, 2012 at 02:38 PM
I have never quite understood the botanical nitpicking with the DPW...it's gotta be a stick, gotta be less than 4 inches, don't put a leaf in there or we'll drive right by, and it better not be from a gingko, elm, cherry, or poplar...only maple trees. I jest...a tiny bit. In nearby towns, taxes are a bit higher but they take nearly everything. The borough council should mandate that the job of the DPW is to keep the town clean...and if that means picking up a freakin' log every now and then--just do it.
Chatsum November 28, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Still disagree with the above. The DPW does a fantastic job. What were the residents doing when everywhere else other residents knew the schedule. Sorry call a private company to haul it away. Very spoiled "nasty" residents in this lovely town.
TCG November 28, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Let me get this straight. The DPW is whining about picking up "brush" after the worst storm to hit the area in 100 years? They are shocked that residents who spent weeks without power are "nasty" in response to an utter lack of response to the storm? How many storms will we all have to live through before the town realizes that storms leave thousands of downed branches and "brush?" How is it possible that a year to the day after a very similar storm hit us, the town is still not ready AHEAD of time with a plan to pick up all the refuse left when the storm passes? Was storm cleanup not included in the budget? If not, why not? And why - with all the equipment they have - not to mention all our tax dollars - can they not pick up logs and big branches? Again...why wouldn't there be a line item in the budget to allocate for hiring companies to come in and do this after the storms that we now know are coming? The state and federal government did NOTHING to get generators to gas stations despite telling us for a week to expect 7-10 days without power. This led to thousands of us having to wait in lines, deal with gas rationing, etc...which tends to make some people nasty. Instead of wasting time describing the demeanor of residents who call or visit...how about taking some action to address their concerns? If a community like Chahtam does not have the resources to clean up after a storm, there needs to be a serious investigation into where they are wasting our money.
Sir November 28, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Why are people so lazy? The DPW had one pick up and you should have put things curbside as those in the township did. We had one pick up and the residents did the rest themselves. Sense of entitlement has run wild.
Andrew November 28, 2012 at 06:38 PM
These people are disgusting now I know why people hate Chatham so much. Get outside and do something I'm so sick of hearing people complain about this storm. People aren't thankful they didn't lose everything like the people at the shore and parts of NY they just care about when stuff will be cleaned up. Cursing off the elected officials won't do much. Disgusting human beings.
TwpRez November 28, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Boro residents should be happy they have leaf pickup... that's not happenin' in the Township!
Chatsum November 28, 2012 at 10:14 PM
I agree with Sir,Andrew,And TwpRez. When friends of mine moved to the Township, they could not believe they did not have leaf pickup. We should all be happy to live in this wonderful town and not bash our hard working town employees.
chatham7 November 28, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Well said Sir. I am tired of hearing and amazed that there is a tought "brush" on private property should be the towns responsibilty to pick up. What's next complainers? When we have 2 feet of snow should DPW come shovel your driveway??
CB Citizen November 29, 2012 at 05:00 AM
If your non-smartphone phone accepts text messages, you may receive Chatham Borough website updates as text messages. To do this, text the words "follow chathamborough" (leave off the quotation marks) to the number 40404. This allows you to receive Borough website updates which are sent via Twitter. It's that easy, and the only cost to you is what your mobile phone company charges you for each incoming text message. If you ever need to stop the text messages, text "stop" to 40404.
bs November 29, 2012 at 01:06 PM
"Council President James Lonergan said this second collection was similar to the second collection done in 2011 after the October snow storm. "Do we really want to open that door again? We've cleaned it up once," he said." Lonergan, We've? How many sticks did you pick up? You power hungry little man. You were elected to serve the people not flex your political muscle. Get the job done, Jimmy.
Branch Onstreet November 29, 2012 at 02:21 PM
We should be happy to have our leaves picked up!? Get real people - ya think the DPW just does that out of the goodness of their hearts? WE PAY for that collection with a little thing called taxes...and BTW since we are paying for it we should be able to help prioritize when and how often it gets done. The DPW is not to blame, they jjust do whatever they are told to do by the council/mayor - others may think that Lonergan and the other pompous bullies on the council can make great decisions - but I see no reason to believe they will make the best choices for the Borough ( see tri-county lawsuit debacle or on-street parking suggestions for details). It's really not that deep...100 year storm = extra debris so make another pick up.
Duncan Munchkin November 29, 2012 at 03:34 PM
You know, Sirs like you really crack me up. So many of your other posts about how conservative you are, small government, tax dollars not wasted--and then you come here to chide people who want their tax dollars spent wisely on cleaning up our town. The laziness and entitlement start with the borough council and extend through municipal services all of whom seem to want to be commended for a job half-done. I want the DPW to clean up the town--big sticks, little sticks, kindling, logs--whatever you want to call them. Also, make the paths safe and remove or trim hazardous trees that they like to pretend they manage. I don't want to spend my tax dollars on multiple crews standing around in the mulch pit complaining about their wives and whose turn it is on the leaf sucker. They have the many pieces of heavy equipment (that we bought them), and they have the chainsaws (that we bought them). They are paid to use them for the benefit of the borough...this small, small borough...and yet it is overwhelming for them. Ridiculous and outrageous.
Duncan Munchkin November 29, 2012 at 03:42 PM
You know, after bad storms and flooding the fire department will very often drive around and pump out basements for people. From what I heard, they weren't needed much this storm, but last year they did this for many people. They didn't stop after the second one and say...well, we've done enough. Why do you think they have such a different attitude?
Chatsum November 29, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Again....Everyone had AMPLE time to put it all at the curb before the pickup. Stop your whining and blaming.
Biggie Smalls November 29, 2012 at 07:46 PM
chatsum ....you are the one who is blaming (your neighbors) and whining (again about your neighbors). Typical Chatham (or is it Summit?) resident who is always right. Too funny!
Junco November 30, 2012 at 01:43 AM
Yeah Chatsum, go piss on an electric fence
BlueCollarBob November 30, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Now Now..lets stop all the bickering..If you want to have your branches and logs picked up do what Chatham Township people do..befriend someone in the Boro DPW. my friend who lives in close proximity to the Boro mulch.told me a few months ago.on a Sunday while out working on his lawn a pick up truck loaded with branches drove down his street heading toward Milton Ave school ...15 minutes later it came back empty...45 minutes later it came back again overflowing with branches and limbs..rather od dhe thought so he followed it in his car...he watched as they pulled up to mulch gate and the passenger got out and unlocked the gate! as the pick up was not a Boro DPW vehicle..he followed it all the way to Chestnut Street in the Township,,across from The Country Store...waited a few minutes then drove down Chestnut to see the two men loading the truck up with brush, limbs , logs you name it...they returned to the mulch and again unlocked the gate....His guess was that this is what is known as shared services! What a sweet deal that is.
DPW Fan November 30, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Long time reader, first time writer...We've lived in the Borough for more than 20 years and are pleased with the hard work the DPW does year after year. Yes, we managed to get our brush to the curb in time for the pick-up. However, we paid our landscaper to get rid of the rest during our annual fall clean-up service. If Chatham residents' biggest problem is brush still laying around, be overjoyed! There is much, much worse going on in our world.
Hugs November 30, 2012 at 04:38 PM
DPW has generally always performed well and our streets are usually in great order after storms and winter snowfalls. Much more cleaner than surrounding towns. As others have already clearly stated, people had ample time to clean up their yards or hire landscapers. DPW made it clear TWICE last year and then again this year that they’d be around only once. They are specific as to what they will pick up for good reason. They are not responsible for your fallen trees in your backyard so they should not have the burden of picking up 50-75 pine tree logs from your fallen evergreen in your backyard. That’s your responsibility to get rid of and not DPW’s! Sure, they have the equipment and manpower, but why is it their job or why should I incur the cost (thru raised taxes) to clean up your tree? That’s why you see large logs still piled at the curb. DPW knows if it’s theirs or yours and will leave it alone if it wasn’t a town tree. Hello! That’s your job to dispose of my friend. Be thankful they offer to pick up the brush and you handle the rest. Now, because this is Chatham and we all know who some of these people are, you will see them outside this weekend cutting down any shrubs or trimming any bushes and hauling that to the curb to take advantage of the 2nd round pickup. Seen that happen year after year. Any guess how many year old xmas trees will appear at the curb?!
Julles51 December 01, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Hey andrew-you obviously don't live in chatham - work your a** off to pay high taxes here to pay for these services. If u did you'd be singing a different tune.
Just Doit December 02, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Lets not get it twisted...the DPW gets paid to do a job so they are not some kind of Red Cross volunteers here to help us poor Chatham home owners. I think they do a fine job so no beef there. That being said I see no reason why our leadership can't be flexible enough to reprioritize efforts during times of extordinary circumstances and pick up the friggin branches and tree trunks. I don't see how this incurs one iota of extra cost since we have the Resouces already and they would just be working on something different. At the end of the day those services do exist and those people do get paid to serve the tax payers best interest. It's a shame that our elected officials are so narrow minded and our neighbors are so confrontational with each other that often the right things don't get done. Peace.
TwpRez December 06, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Oh gee, I guess leaves don't get picked up in the twp because we don't pay that little thing called taxes... thanks so much for clarifying : P
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