Town of Princeton Adds Extra Round of Brush Pick Up to Fall Schedule

yard wasteOfficials have decided to add an extra week of brush pick up to the town’s public works schedule for the fall.

The week before Thanksgiving, residents throughout town will be able to have their brush picked up. Brush should be placed near the curb in the street by 7 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 16.

“We’re always looking to improve or schedule. We’ve hear the cry of residents,” Princeton Director of Infrastructure and Operations Bob Hough said. “We know there was concern about going from October to January of 2016 without any brush collection.”

The town is also revising its leaf and brush pick up schedule for 2016 and adding additional pick ups in the summer and fall.

Many former Princeton Borough residents have complained that their brush and leaf services were cut back after consolidation. Many residents in the downtown area have smaller yards and do not have the space to compost or store all their leaves and brush.


  1. Please let there be regular pickups next year. Once per month on a given, predictable week, would be ideal. I can pile up brush for a month–but not much longer–without things reaching a ridiculous state. This summer, we had a huge brushpile on our front lawn for nearly 2 months awaiting the official pickup date. Town could have paid for pickups for less that paying an officer to go around writing everyone warnings.

  2. An added fall pickup is welcome but barely addresses the issue. It’s disingenuous for staff to now say they ‘hear the cry of residents’ ~ residents have been ‘crying’ for nearly two years! Mayor and Council are to blame as they hold to the false goal of consolidation ~ tax savings. Tax savings at what cost? The town looks awful! It’s shameful. Borough residents were promised no diminution of service suffered as a result of consolidation. There was much discussion about the public works department in a larger Princeton and despite the obvious, the commission and the transition team ignored the likely outcome. It’s time to reinstate a weekly or biweekly pickup and give up holding to the false hope of savings from consolidation. We’ve cut staff, added staff, cut positions, added positions in a dance that makes one’s head spin! And now there’s talk about hiring an enforcement officer to fine us all into submission to toe the line of keeping garden debris from the curb line.

    1. The brush pickup could be done more expediently if good old manual labor were used. It’s always amusing to watch the public works department maneuver the narrow tree streets in their over-sized caterpillar trucks. All to pick up a few tree branches. In 15 seconds, a person could bend over and put the waste in a truck. Instead, it can take minutes and normally the truck manages to scoop up part of one’s lawn; not to mention the fossil-fuel waste of the gasoline consumed by the truck.

      If one then considers the amount spent on the truck and its maintenance for such small uses, it’s no wonder that costs are high.

    2. Yes, Kate. I can see why you find the way the “new” brush plan was presented so off-putting. Like so many residents, you may hope that Princeton will deliver essential, basic municipal services thoughtfully, economically, and well. That’s just not happening. (To share some examples: Landfill trash was managed so poorly, that huge, unexpected, trash collection costs were encountered. Our well-equipped brush program disappointed. Tax dollars will fund a “spray park”, even though they’re unsanitary, costly outbreak management will be needed, and we have a new pool complex.) In truth, the story of Princeton’s consolidation reads like “The Emperor’s New Clothes”.
      Princeton hasn’t delivered on the promises of consolidation, despite an additional 3 million plus dollars a year from the University, increased rateables, and broad support. Council’s justification for the recent
      property tax increase includes a chart that compares us to surrounding towns. To read that chart without laughing, one must
      suspend reality and forget that no other town listed has consolidated.
      Looks like Princeton taxpayers must cough up money for legal fees to investigate a personnel incident between high-level employees, pay for “unexpected” trash removal, receive ten year old bills, and more. Taxpayers will just have to forget the jobs that municipal employees admit they haven’t done, or don’t do as they should, and keep paying more fees and those employees.
      Princeton’s municipal leaders will still proudly parade. They’ll showcase new programs or services established in the private sector, that should remain in that sector. That way, we may not see what’s missing.
      We’ll join that parade every time we pay for things that we don’t want from a municipal source, accept poor delivery, or accept non-delivery of basic services. We’ll join that parade when we allow municipal employees to collect MORE fees from us, to “enforce” standards they find impossible to impose on themselves.

  3. It’s so sad to see this issue festering when a big part of the solution is so readily available and inexpensive to implement, perhaps first on a pilot basis. I have been working with staff, the princeton Environmental Commission, and council, on a solution that would provide better service while saving significant money.

    Some are calling for more frequent pickups of loose brush, leaves, and other yardwaste, and claiming that more pickups will make our streets cleaner. This is unfortunately untrue. Living in the former borough, I witnessed the every-other-week pickups people are asking for. As soon as the loose piles on the street are picked up, residents put more out, and the streets remain messy until two weeks later when the crews come around again. Crews are frustrated to see a street they just cleaned immediately littered with more yardwaste piles, the asphalt is repeatedly scarred by the scraping metal blades of the equipment, and the streets never look clean. Loose dumping is an addiction that will only get worse if expanded.

    Though the awkward, messy, inefficient, expensive pickups of loose material would continue, any addition to current service should focus on providing residents with a better alternative to loose dumping–a consistent, predictable containerized service. Currently, the town makes weekly pickups of bagged yardwaste six months out of the year, but the bags can be awkward to use and heavy to lug around. Many communities use 64 or 96 gallon rollcarts, emptied weekly. (The foodwaste carts can also be used for yardwaste, but the yardwaste then is hauled all the way to Pennsylvania, and the carts are only 32 gallon.) People could still use bags, but each large rollcart full, easily wheeled to the curb, can hold as much as 2-6 yardwaste bags, and reduces the needless consumption of paper products in the form of the bags. This extra containerized capacity and predictable pickup days will take care of 90% of yardwaste collection needs during spring and summer, and will begin to wean people of the habit of loose dumping. Below is a link to one of my many posts about this issue.

  4. Steve – would your large rollcart idea allow branches and brush as well as leaves? Currently, only loose leaves are allowed in the bags and this clearly does not substitute for branch and brush pickup.

Comments are closed.