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DEP grant to city represents good news for residents

Municipal brush piles — and access to them — has become a hot topic in recent years.

It’s quite the situation for the average homeowner. There was a time when municipal street crews would pick up limbs and yard debris left at the curb. As resources dwindled, policies changed, with street pickup limited to twice a year — spring and fall.

Along with that, officials reinforced the notion that the municipal brush piles would be available for homeowners to transport their yard debris, allowing them to maintain beauty and order outside their homes. This, in turn, enhanced the pride in a well-groomed property and contributed to the overall beauty of neighborhoods.

Then something changed.

Outsiders from places without municipal brush piles took advantage of the open brush piles. The gates were locked; access was made that much more difficult, particularly for those who work during official municipal hours. It would have been nice if street crews would have returned to the days of picking up yard debris left along the curb, but smaller staff sizes would not allow that.

A couple of years ago, Loyalsock invested in a system that allows residents to register with the township and obtain a key to gain access to the municipal site. Besides ensuring that use would be for township residents specifically, it also allowed officials to keep a tighter check on those who abused the site.

That seemed like a good solution for Williamsport, and grant funding was sought for such a system.

Now, a $280,000 grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection will allow the city to install a card-reading system and buy a leaf collection vehicle — good news for city residents. We hope to see quick progress on this card-reading system as spring nears.

The more able residents are to take their yard debris to the city brush pile, the less strain there will be on city street crews when the window for street pickup opens.

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