Burr Ridge can’t find a way to pick up leaf duty

A Hinsdale family staged this creative protest in 2009 as the village was considering ending its leaf pickup program. | File photo
A Hinsdale family staged this creative protest in 2009 as the village was considering ending its leaf pickup program. | File photo
Survey says Other interesting information from this year’s survey: • 55.3 percent have watched a Village Board Meeting on TV-cable channels • out of 58.4 percent of Internet users, there is an 8 percent increase in village website viewers • 72 percent of residents get their village news from the village newsletter • 57.3 percent get village news from the newspaper

Residents continue to want a village leaf pick-up program, but Burr Ridge officials say they simply cannot find a way to make that happen.

Curbside leaf pick-up was one of the items on the top of residents’ wish list in the 2013 Community Service Survey, which was released this week.

Village officials say they hear residents’ request but can’t make leaf pick-up a reality, despite residents of neighboring Hinsdale and Oak Brook having such a service.

“Every two years, we do the community survey and for 20 years we have been hearing about a fall leaf program,” Village Administrator Steve Stricker said. “It may seem like a small program to residents but it turns out to cost a lot.”

Stricker said the village did a survey back in 1995 and even then, Hinsdale was paying nearly $100,000 for the service and Oak Brook was at $75,000 or $80,000.

He said unlike brush-chipping, which the village provides on a one-time annual basis, a leaf pick-up effort would be four or five times more costly as multiple sweeps of the village would have to be done to get all of the leaves.

“For the village, it is cost prohibitive,” Stricker said.

The village administrator noted that it is not just the cost of sending equipment and personnel through the village several days a week that adds up, it is also the cost for dumping the leaves.

Wish list

Other items topping residents’ wish list in the survey were:

• a separate library for Burr Ridge residents

• village recycling events for electrical appliances, paint, computers and batteries

• more inexpensive family-friendly dining options

• online water bill payment

“We have 11,000 residents,” said Janet Kowal, the village’s communications and public relations coordinator. “(The library) is something that keeps coming up.”

Stricker said the 60 percent of Burr Ridge residents that are not in the Indian Prairie Library District have a choice of which library they can use. He said those residents don’t pay a library tax as they are not in a library district.

“They are not paying library taxes if they are not in the Indian Prairie District,” Stricker said. “They are not paying for a library they may not be using.”

Kowal noted the average person responding to this year’s survey was a 56-year-old female who lives in a single-family dwelling in a non-gated community south of Interstate 55 and has lived in Burr Ridge for more than 15 years.

In response to residents’ request, village officials said they will look at publicizing area recycling events in the village newsletter and that online payments for water bills should be available in the next few months.

Pros and cons

Kowal said items getting high praise from village residents were the brush chipping service, village events such as car shows, Concerts on the Green and the Jingle Mingle, and landscaping all around the village.

She noted 99 percent of respondents said they feel safe and very secure living in Burr Ridge.

Residents are pleased with the appearance of public building and grounds, the courtesy shown by village employees and the police response to calls, the survey results revealed.

Items ranking at the bottom of residents’ rankings were zoning and building code enforcement, storm water drainage, nuisance control (weeds, etc.), ease and efficiency of obtaining a permit and the village property tax rate.

“I think there is some confusion about the village’s role in tax rates,” Kowal said, noting that the village got an “average” or “above average” for its own tax rate on the survey.