CHATHAM BOROUGH, NJ - The Department of Public Works is in a conundrum as residents continue to put leaves curbside after the department makes its sweep, complicating plans to tackle upended sidewalks due to uprooted trees from Hurricane Sandy and outfitting trucks with snow and ice equipment.

Although leaf collection is technically scheduled to close by the middle of this week, the council agreed to let DPW go back and collect leaves in some areas that were already done. The department will do another round of brush pick-up next week. All of this will be weather-permitting.

Robert Venezia, the head of Department of Public Works, said that the department logged 300 overtime hours collecting leaves. The department began its leaf collection at the end of November after completing the bulk of Hurricane Sandy clean-up. He pointed out that residents didn’t get leaves out early in the wake of the hurricane.

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Venezia said his crew had to move forward on clearing impassible sidewalks due to uprooted trees that lifted slabs of concrete during Hurricane Sandy. “We still have 46-48 stumps and another eight trees have since fell on borough property,” he said, adding that a crew will start on the project next week. 

In the meantime, Venezia said two trucks will be changed over from leaf-collecting equipment to spreaders and plows.

The mulching station, which was scheduled to close Saturday, Dec. 8, is still open for residents to drop off bagged leaves, Venezia said. The borough does not have any leaf bags left but Councilman John Holman pointed out that bags can be bought at hardware stores or Home Depot.