Prairie Township's fall leaf pick-up will start Monday, Oct. 15, the first time the township has offered the service in 22 years.
"This is the first year for the program since 1990," said Dave McAninch, the township's road and cemetery superintendent. "I believe it will be well-received."
The collection will start on the eastern side of the township and work west. Residents can either bag their leaves or rake them to the curbside or the edge of the road, McAninch said. Pick-up will take place Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., he said.
McAninch said the leaf program was made possible when residents voted in favor of a Joint Economic District Zone agreement last fall. The JEDZ agreement created a way for the township to capture income taxes from those who work in the West Broad Street corridor.
"This is one of the promises the board made to the residents if the JEDZ passed," McAninch said. "The cost to sustain the program in the future will be general maintenance, labor and fuel for a six- to eight-week period."
He said the township spent about $37,700 on the initial purchase of two leaf boxes and a leaf machine. The program is expected to last into December or whenever the leaves stop falling, he said.
Residents who are interested in the progress of the leaf pick-up program will be able to visit the township website at prairietownship.org. They may also call McAninch at 614-878-3316 or email him at dmcaninch@prairietownship. org.
Residents who are missed on the first pass through the township should call McAninch and leave a message with their names, addresses and phone numbers. McAninch said he will compile a list of addresses to revisit once the initial leaf collection is complete.
In addition to leaf pick-up, the township road and cemetery department is already preparing for winter. McAninch said there are no worries about the salt supply.
"We are in good shape right now," he said. "What people do not realize is that even though we received very little snow last year, we were still committed to buy a certain amount (of salt) last year."
McAninch said the township makes a commitment in late April to buy salt for the winter. Prairie Township currently has about 200 tons of road salt on hand, he said.
The township committed to purchase 300 tons of salt under an Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) contract, which says the township has to purchase 80 percent of that amount or 240 tons. In turn, ODOT has to supply 120 percent of that amount or 360 tons.
"The price was $58.47 per ton and this year it went down to $50.92 per ton," McAninch said.
In addition to having salt on hand, the township has to inspect all of its trucks, plows and salt spreaders to make sure they are working.
"In reality, until you are using the equipment in a storm situation, you do not know if the equipment is going to break down," McAninch said. "Fortunately for the township residents, the trustees are committed to updating the trucks and equipment every five to six years to keep up with the latest technology and keep our equipment as close to repair free as possible."
In addition, McAninch said the township will also send its employees to the Franklin Coun-ty Engineers for training prior to the snow and ice season.