HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Heavy rain with the potential for flooding is predicted to move through North Alabama Wednesday. While the changing leaves of the trees add to the seasonal beauty in the Tennessee Valley, those leaves that fall can create flooding risks.
It’s why one Huntsville city councilmember is looking to expand the city’s street cleaning service with street sweepers.
“It’s good that we’re growing, but at the same time… let’s take care of the neighborhoods and the people who have helped make Huntsville the good city it is now,” said District 4 Huntsville City Councilman Bill Kling. “I’ve come up with a plan that would have 10 street sweepers and 10 dump trucks to go along with it and have those 10 street sweepers run regular routes throughout the city on a regular basis.”
Kling says before he was elected to the council in 1988, the city had a street-sweeping service.
He says there was a contract at one point with a company to come in and sweep the streets. It lasted for about two years and then he says it just went away.
“What we are looking at are street sweepers that cost very roughly about $300,000 each,” Kling continued. “Dump trucks would be about $75,000. The salary for a street sweeper operator with benefits would be roughly about $40,000. I think the idea is to come up with our priorities, have a game plan worked out where we could order those street sweepers/dump trucks out of the capital budget, and then we’d be bringing on the additional manpower.”
While Kling works to get this passed in the upcoming fiscal year budget, city officials want to remind residents that any debris blocking drains is a problem.
Brian Walker, landscape management director for the city, says “From a standpoint of the leaves accumulating this time of the year with the rain coming in in the winter months creating flooding issues… yes, we do get calls.”
However, Walker says most residents tend to keep their property free from debris.
“When you get storms and some of that debris, leaves, and pine needles wash down in front of your yard even though you’ve done a great job of cleaning up and everything is where the issues tend to lie,” Walker added.
Walker is reminding homeowners to keep curbs, gutters, ditches, and sidewalks free of debris. This includes dirt, trash, debris, gravel, yard waste, grass clippings, grass, and weeds. The law applies to residential streets in 25 miles per hour speeding zones.
If your curb or gutter is obstructed, the Public Works Department will notify you. If the debris is not removed within 15 days, Huntsville Police may issue a citation.