Every municipality and its residents are looking for ideas that would lower taxes. May I suggest an ordinance that would require property owners to bag their fallen leaves each fall to be picked up by town employees to be composted?

By enacting such a law, taxpayers would benefit in several ways beyond a reduction in taxes assessed each year. Currently, a town has its streets cleaned with expensive-to-operate vacuum trucks, and desperately trying to stay ahead of the leaves that many people rake numerous times. We all have different schedules of dealing with yard work, as well as coping with winds that scatter our leaves to be raked again and again. Debris left at the streets’ edge will not stay put.

Years ago, as now, leaves were left at the streets’ edge, but we burned them the same day. Because it was found that toxic smoke resulted, the practice was curtailed for good reason.

Personally, I am tired of the fall and spring cleanup ritual, as are many people. For at least two decades now, I have mulched the bulk of leaves where they lie. Doing so means I have some to compost for gardens or banking. Our lawns get a boost of nutrients they would not get otherwise.

Taxes would no doubt diminish, if municipalities didn’t need repeated use of vacuum equipment. Taxpayers would no longer have the frustration of the fruits of their labor blowing in the wind. Life would be greatly simplified with efforts given to better endeavors.

Our environment would improve because of the fertilizing effect of nutrients from the leaves, reducing the use of artificial boosters. As everyone knows, much of the commercial boosters end up polluting streams, rivers and lakes, not to mention our drinking water if we happen to be dependent on well water.

Paul O. Sylvain, Skowhegan


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