The Fairfax County Public Works and Environmental Services Department will withdraw the plan to halt county leaf collection service, Annandale Today reports.
In order to provide more time for community discussion, the board of supervisors will no longer hold a public hearing on the topic this fall. The service will continue at least through next winter, Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross told Annandale Today.
The county announced in July a proposal to permanently discontinue vacuum leaf service, beginning in the 2024 season. To assess the community’s stance on the proposal, the department launched a public input survey that closed on August 18.
Approximately 25,000 customers receive the service.
The recommendation to halt the service was due to increased costs to run the service and operational issues that occurred in the 2022–2023 season that led to delays. It said that delays in collection could pose problems if leaves stay on curbs for a long period awaiting pickup, including blocked storm drainages and potential slip and fall hazards.
The county estimated that the 2023 season would incur a $900,000 deficit, followed by a $400,000 deficit at the end of fiscal year 2024.
In response, a petition to continue the service began on change.org, which has gathered over 1,400 signatures. The petition voiced concerns about residents not being able to compost their leaves and about the need for residents to hire private companies to do the work, as well as making note that other jurisdictions run the service.
“The DPWES staff want to discontinue this long valued and environmentally sound program after their failure to provide consistent and reliably timed service,” the petition stated. “They have cited examples of what happens when the service is not undertaken on a timely basis and then remarkably suggested that those examples are reasons to simply end the service instead of correcting the management and operation of it.”
An update to the petition was posted on October 19, stating that the proposal was withdrawn. It said: “It is our understanding that DPWES plans to resubmit this proposal to end vacuum service next year,” and continues to ask for signatures from the community.
Feature image, stock.adobe.com
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