No high resolution image exists...
Residents of many tree-lined streets in Sacramento are worried that a proposal to reduce the frequency of green waste pickup by “The Claw” will leave their neighborhoods overgrown and unkempt when leaves start falling in autumn.
The issue is the main subject of the East Sacramento Preservation Association meeting 7 p.m. Wednesday at Clunie Community Center, 601 Alhambra Blvd., and some residents have made their opinions clear.
“This is a joke!” wrote Sacramento resident Julie Neller on the organization’s Facebook page. “The claims of what good it will do (saving money and better for the environment) don’t justify the end result of what is really going to happen.”
Steve Harriman, integrated waste general manager for the city Department of General Services, told The Sacramento Press in May that changes to the program are necessary because it is an expensive and difficult system to operate.
“We are trying to create a system where every customer has the same service,” he said.
For more than 35 years, the city has included both containerized waste collection and loose-in-the-street yard waste collection via Sacramento’s motorized leaf-collecting machine – known as “The Claw,” – to keep city neighborhoods clean. Residents opt in to claw pickup service by paying a $13.71 premium on their monthly waste utility bill.
According to recent staff reports, the city green waste collection program currently serves 124,000 people, but “The Claw” service is only used by 12,000 subscribers.
Limiting loose-in-the-street pickup will require repealing Measure A, the 1977 voter-approved initiative that prevents the city from requiring residents to use containers. In June, the City Council will vote to determine if a repeal of Measure A will be added to the November 6 ballot.
“The real issue for me is the green waste,” Neller, 31, said Monday. “We have an enormous 60 year-old tree in the front yard that drops so many leaves in the fall that coming by every week isn’t even enough.”
Neller said the tree, like many others in her neighborhood, provides a shade canopy and helps keep her utility bills down in the summer.
Like many other Sacramentans who have come to rely on claw service, Neller is concerned that, without it, she will not be able to keep up with the large amount of work necessary to keep her yards maintained.
“If I can only use a bin, I’ll have to maybe trim just two bushes this week and then wait to do more the next couple of weeks,” Neller said.
City staff are holding town hall meetings at a variety of locations throughout the city to give residents a chance to voice their opinions on the issue, and have set up a website, cleanstreets.com, which includes a link to a survey for people to voice their opinions about the proposed changes to the waste pickup program.
“I know the city and county are broke, but I think there are other things the city could tighten their belt on instead of taking away this valuable service,” Neller said.