Mayor Henry affirms support for leaf pickup, Hughes calls it a luxury

Tom Henry for Mayor campaign logo.

News release from the Henry for Mayor campaign:

Mayor Henry affirms support for leaf pickup, Hughes calls it a luxury
Neighborhood leaders support Henry’s commitment, clear contrast drawn on basic city services in mayor’s race.

In light of Paula Hughes’s recent statement in the Journal Gazette calling leaf collection a “luxury,”[1] today Mayor Tom Henry joined neighborhood leaders and community activists from across the city to re-affirm his commitment to two basic city services: leaf collection and snow removal.

“On county council Paula Hughes voted to cut vital services like snow removal,” said Mayor Tom Henry. “Now she says leaf collection is a luxury she would consider eliminating. These are basic city services that keep our streets safe and our homes and businesses from flooding. I’ve balanced the budget and cut spending without eliminating vital services and if re-elected I pledge to do the same for the next four years.”

“I trust Tom Henry to provide the city services my neighbors and I depend on because he cares about residents,” said Carolyn Devoe, former chairwoman of the Southwest Partnership. “I’ve voted for Republicans before, but after I learned that Paula Hughes would cut leaf pickup, I’m supporting Mayor Tom Henry.”

A clear distinction has emerged in the race for mayor over these two city services:

On October 9, 2011, when asked about city services by the Journal Gazette, Hughes stated that: “My perspective on the leaf pickup is it is a luxury as a citizen…Do I think we need to evaluate whether this is a priority?…I think it is up for discussion.”[2]

In 2008 Hughes voted for a budget that cut 19 employees in the Highway Department, the department responsible for snow removal.[3][4] The county’s 2008 Highway Budget shows the nearly $1 million cut in maintenance workers (page 169) and the total Highway Department cut of about $2.5 million.[5] A Journal Gazette story from February, 2011 detailed the detrimental effects Hughes’s cuts had on snow removal.[6]

The city’s leaf collection program is vital to prevent flooding caused by clogged drainage. Indiana Code 13-20-9 states that vegetative material (including leaves) cannot be deposited in landfills. Additionally, Fort Wayne city ordinances 50.11 and 94.71 prevent residents from disposing of their leaves in landfills or burning their leaves – meaning that if leaf pickup was eliminated, residents would either be forced to compost their own leaves or pay for their own leaf collection service. ?

??Mayor Henry was joined at the news conference by community leaders, including William Crowley, Chair of the Southeast Area Partnership; Carolyn Devoe, former Chair of the Southwest Area Partnership; Charlotte Weybright, President of the West Central Neighborhood Association Board; Jeryl Cooke, President of the Concordia Gardens Neighborhood Association and other community leaders and activists.

Leaf pickup begins on October 24. More information about the city’s leaf collection service is available at the city’s website, online here.



[1] “City Services a Pivotal Task for Mayors” Lanka, the Journal Gazette, 9/9/2011
[2] “City Services a Pivotal Task for Mayors” Lanka, the Journal Gazette, 9/9/2011
[3] “Southwest Annexation Leads to Elimination of 19 Highway Department Jobs” Lengerich, News-Sentinel, 7/18/2007
[4] “Allen County Council Meeting Minutes,” 9/20/2007.
[5] “2008 Allen County Budget,” Allen County Auditor
[6] “Hours Pile up for Tired Crew,” Gray, the Journal Gazette, 2/3/11

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