Locked gates do not speak to bigger issue

City residents are understandably frustrated with the situation involving the city brush and mulch pile and the mounting piles of yard debris lining streets citywide.

As they try to adapt to limited hours to gain access, they expect somebody to be at the gate to let them in during the hours that the city has posted.

On Earth Day — a day in which a citywide cleanup was to begin — many vehicles loaded with tree limbs and leaves, brush and other yard waste were observed trying to get in.

The gate was locked. It turns out the department had a day off in conjunction with the Easter holiday but did not announce this in advance.

So, yes, frustration was evident. An early visitor even deposited tree stumps next to the locked gate, something we don’t encourage — we understand the ire this sort of negative behavior prompts in city streets and parks workers, who are understandably busy.

And we expect they will be busier than ever during their sweeps of city streets this spring to pick up and transport piles of brush that seem to be greater in size and number than they were in years past.

Some of that is due to wind storms of late. We suspect much of it, though, is due to the locked-gate policy.

We also can understand that policy, not unlike policies in neighboring communities such as Loyalsock Township and South Williamsport. These policies were the solution to being overwhelmed by loads of yard debris flooding in from not just local residents but residents in area communities without brush piles.

It’s not uncommon to see small passenger trucks with loads of yard debris driving out of one community without a brush pile into another with one, looking for an open site to dump.

The local solution to install gates and provide key cards for a small fee to residents works to an extent. But there’s a bigger problem here that goes beyond the limits of the city, Loyalsock and South Williamsport, and that’s clearly the need for brush piles for people who live in residential areas.

Too bad the county doesn’t have an area or two that it could open up for a county brush and mulch pile, thereby taking pressure off of the local municipalities that do provide this needed service, and helping homeowners to maintain well-groomed properties. We would suggest a site for composting also would provide a tremendous service to the taxpayers.

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