Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A good decision!

There has been recent criticism by Alex Grant and others regarding the cost of tree debris cleanup for our town. I believe that our Select Board made a wise decision in electing to use Ashbritt to clean up tree related debris from our town streets.

Can you imagine our DPW crews trying to collect the large volume of tree debris from the streets of Longmeadow with their current equipment fleet?

Longmeadow DPW


AshBritt Environmental Services

According to recent AshBritt/ O'Brien estimates, 285,000 cubic yds of tree debris ranging from limbs and branches to 3-4' diameter tree sections were collected. Using an estimate of ~ 60 yd3 per collection vehicle, this amounts to ~ 4800 truckloads.

Using our DPW fleet of aging bucket loaders and dump trucks (+ other local contractors) it would have taken a very long time to complete this task. In addition, these types of vehicles are not well suited to tree debris pickup and would require significantly more time.

I'm sure that some of the much larger volume of tree debris collected for our town (vs. surrounding towns) was a result of town residents taking advantage of the curbside collection when they were cleaning up their own properties to reduce their own personal cleanup costs.

Using a figure of $2.5 million after FEMA reimbursement, this calculates to ~ $500/ homeowner which is reasonable given the widespread tree damage that hit our town during this storm. The final pricetag could be significantly lower if MEMA and the state of MA ante up some reimbursement funds for Longmeadow and surrounding towns.

In less than 2 months all of the tree debris has been removed from the 90+ miles of town streets including the large piles of wood chips that were generated at Wolf Swamp Road fields.  See photo below:

From what I have observed, I believe that the decision to use AshBritt was a good one and our town has quickly recovered from this effects of this devastating storm.... the money was well spent.

Can you imagine the condition of our town if we had experienced another major snowstorm in November or early December and had decided to use our DPW and local contractors to save money?