Southold Town will begin picking up leaves Thursday

BETH YOUNG PHOTO | Southold Town will begin its annual leaf pickup on Thursday.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Southold Town is holding a fall leaf pickup this year.

The cleanup begins Thursday at Orient Point, and will end in Laurel, according to an ad placed by the Highway Department in

The Suffolk Times. Highway Superintendent Pete Harris, who returned to work from vacation Monday, did not return calls for comment for this story. During Mr. Harris’s absence, Town Supervisor Scott Russell repeatedly assured residents who attended public meetings that the leaf pickup would be held.

The ad cautions residents to have their leaves ready at the roadside on Dec. 1, regardless of where they live.

“The precise timing of the cleanup on any specific street(s) cannot be predicted,” says the ad.

Mr. Harris has been vocally critical of the public response to a town-wide emergency brush cleanup instated after Tropical Storm Irene in August. At several public meetings this fall, he said residents were clearing lots and dumping tree limbs that were obviously not debris from the storm on the side of the road for his crews to clean up. He added that, after the town ceased accepting hurricane debris for free at the landfill, residents began dumping brush in public roadways.

The brush cleanup began just after Labor Day and did not end until mid-November.

This week’s ad clearly states that all brush left at the curb now will not be picked up. The town only picks up bagged leaves that are placed in biodegradable brown paper bags.

Though the town does sell leaf bags with the official town seal on them at several local merchants, residents are not required to use official town bags. This is the last year that Southold will sell official town leaf bags, after they received notice from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance that they would have to collect tax on the bags if they continue to use them. The town does not have to collect tax on its yellow garbage bags because they are required by town code, while the leaf bags are not required.

This year’s cleanup begins just two days later than last year’s cleanup, which began Nov. 29, but unlike last year, when the town began advertising the clean-up in mid-October, the first advertisement of this year’s clean-up will not appear until Thursday’s issue of The Suffolk Times.

[email protected]