City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

February 22, 2011
Leaf collection rates could triple in Sacramento

Would you be willing to pay three times what you're paying now to have that pile of leaves picked up from in front of your house? That's a debate at the City Council Chambers tonight.

City officials say that the current rates for the Loose In The Street collection program aren't high enough. As a result, staffers say they may need to triple the rates, to about $40 a month.

If rates aren't tripled, collection of leaf piles for those who don't use green bins would have to be reduced to every other week and rates doubled, according to a city staff report.

The reason? Current rates would pay for the leaf collection program if 57,000 homes piled leaves on the street and didn't use green bins, but just 12,121 are doing so. Another 102,787 use the green bins, which is cheaper and, city officials say, is more eco-friendly because it doesn't require the use of those iron-jawed trucks that scoop up the leaves.

Another option to solve the fiscal imbalance, according to the staff report, would be for the City Council to place a measure on the ballot repealing Measure A. That measure, passed in 1977, prohibits the city from requiring containerized yard and garden collection.

City staffers are asking to work with the Utilities Rate Advisory Commission on the issue.

Residents who choose to leave their leaves in the street are concentrated in neighborhoods close to the city's core, including midtown, Land Park and Curtis Park. Very few people don't use green bins in the city's newer areas; according to a city map, no more than 50 homes in North Natomas pile leaves in the street.

For many, leaf piles are a rite of autumn. But is it worth 40 bucks a month?

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About City Beat

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact reporter Ryan Lillis at


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