Malfunctioning machine affects leaf collection

PUNXSUTAWNEY – Don’t count on a fast pick-up for your leaves this fall.

The borough’s leaf collection machine, which has been the work horse in the borough’s annual leaf collection, has been out of service since the first day of collection, said Roger Steele, chairman of the Public Works Committee, at Tuesday’s meeting.

Steele said Public Works crews have been utilizing the borough’s street sweeper as the only viable piece of equipment that can be used for leaf collection.

“Be patient with us, we will get to your leaves,” he said, adding that if anyone must dispose of leaves soon, Public Works crews will pick them up if residents use the proper bags.

Borough Manager Ben White said parts to repair the motor have been ordered. Public Works Foreman Joe Defelice said he hopes to have the motor rebuilt and have it back online sometime within the next week, White said.

“I don’t think we’ve been through the entire town once, and we started last Monday,” he said.

White said if anyone wants Public Works to take leaves before the machine is fixed, they can put them in bags for pick-up.

Anyone who plans to bag leaves must put them in only brown, bio-degradable recycling bags, not in plastic garbage bags, White said. The brown bags may be purchased at stores that sell lawn and garden supplies.

Steele said apparently, the leaf machine picked something up that went through the vacuum system, causing more than possibly $3,000 in damage. Thus, residents who want their leaves picked up should not have heavy or metal objects that could damage the machine among the leaves.

In other business:

• Steele said the Punxsutawney Area Community Center roof replacement project has been completed.

White said there’s one more inspection by the roofing company and the Firestone Roofing Company.

There will be a payment request at Monday’s council meeting, White said.

• Steele said progress continues in the downtown traffic signal upgrade project, and the actual light standards are due to be delivered within the next week.

Much of the concrete has been poured, and the bases have been installed, Steele said. There were some safety issues that were addressed with the engineer Tuesday, including one issues regarding the lack of flaggers and allowing traffic to flow.

“Ten cones and a piece of heavy equipment aren’t considered to be traffic control, and it has become a dangerous situation,” he said. “There have been some near accidents, and we have been very fortunate to this date.”

Steele said he hopes this can all be corrected in the near future.

When the light standards are being erected in downtown, based on the new traffic signals that were installed on North Findley Street, it is going to be a big job, Steele said. Thus, traffic will have to be rerouted during that time in most cases.

• White said Public Works is looking to upgrade its equipment by replacing a large dump truck purchased through a PennDOT municipal auction six to seven years ago.

He said he hopes to purchase another truck through an online auction within the next few weeks.