Dayton residents won’t have to bag up their leaves next year. Curbside leaf collection returns for the first time since 2009. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Back by resident demand after a long hiatus: Dayton leaf collection

The city of Dayton next year will bring back curbside leaf collection for the first time in nearly a decade, which some elected leaders are hailing as a “big deal.”

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said some residents still resent city leadership for eliminating collections as part of budget cuts following the economic downturn.

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“Walking door to door, it’s something that eight years later people comment, ‘I’ll never forgive you for the fact that you got rid of leaf collection,’” Whaley said.

Dayton City Commissioner Matt Joseph said he often is asked by citizens when curbside leaf collection will return.

“I live in a neighborhood with big trees and I actually moved to this neighborhood just a few months after the service was stopped, so I was not popular in the neighborhood,” Joseph said. “I’ve been hearing about it ever since.”

Dayton’s public works department eliminated curbside leaf collection as part of the 2010 budget.

The department at the time estimated that it would save the city about $470,000.

Since 2010, citizens have been asked to place raked leaves into biodegradable paper yard waste bags to be collected by city crews during trash pick-up. Citizens also can drop bagged leaves off at designated sites.

But next fall, the city will complete two cycles of curbside loose leaf collection for all of Dayton’s 65 neighborhoods, officials said. Leaf collection will take place between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31.

“This is us bringing back a service that we knew was near and dear to our citizens’ hearts and that I think will have a really big impact,” said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein.

Citizens will no longer have to bag up their leaves. They will be able to rake the leaves to the curb.

Street maintenance will use new equipment that reduces the amount of personnel needed for leaf collection, officials said.

This shows how much Dayton has rebounded from the recession, because the city can offer a key service that improves quality of life, the mayor said.

But it is only coming back because city staff figure out a way to provide the service cheaper and better, she said.

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