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Mallozzi Tackles New Canaan’s ‘Dirty Little Secret’: Mulch

The collection spot down on Lapham Road is meant for residents only, but landscaping crews regularly load up on the mulch that New Canaan provides. The first selectman’s solution? Make the mulch available at the Transfer Station only.

New Canaan recently purchased a $300,000 compost turner whose sole purpose is to help create the mulch that long has been available for residents at 9 a.m. in the pickup area at just west of Waveny.

Yet it’s not just residents who have been helping themselves to the mulch, First Selectman Rob Mallozzi says.

“The ‘dirty little secret’ in New Canaan is that we do a wonderful job at providing mulch for our citizens, but quite frankly most of that mulch ends up in the back of pickup trucks and utility vehicles of landscapers throughout Fairfield County,” Mallozzi told Patch (see video).

For two weeks, the town Department of Public Works is leaving just a half-load of mulch at the Lapham Road area, and the other half has been taken over to the Transfer Station off of Lakeview Avenue. The idea is that with more eyes on the mulch pile, it’s less likely nonresidents will help themselves to the mulch. Mose Saccary, the DPW’s highway superintendent, said the policy is that the mulch itself is for town residents only.

Asked who is responsible for enforcing that policy, Saccary said, “At this point, nobody. We are just hoping that [moving the mulch to the Transfer Station] will have an effect and cut down on the problem.”

The town will put up signs Tuesday at the former mulch site on Lapham Road (where, beyond the brick wall and the cordoned-off area, the town will continue to make the mulch). Within the Transfer Station itself, the mulch will be available right in front of where the town keeps its salt for roads.

Residents are asked to not drive over the scale as they pass the scale house on the way down there. Asked how the town would handle landscaping crews that come to the Transfer Station to get mulch that they say is for a local resident’s home, Saccary said the rule will be that a resident must be present to collect the mulch.
heavens sake April 16, 2013 at 12:37 PM
Another little secret is the Town sells leftover mulch to private nursery firm that then sells it as topsoil to anyone after supposedly adding other ingredients to mulch. Hmm.
Bianca Romano April 16, 2013 at 01:12 PM
Thank God, we now can mulch in peace!!!!
TP April 16, 2013 at 02:32 PM
Did anyone stop to calculate the cost of loading and unloading the mulch, the fuel cost, carbon impact and wear and tear on vehicles to transport it across town, and the manpower for each of the above ? I can't believe it makes any sense. Why do we make everything (dog park, pool, tennis and paddle, etc.) so difficult in this town ? Does it really matter that some of the mulch ends up in non-New Canaan gardens ?? Really ??
LarryBraverman April 16, 2013 at 04:22 PM
The problem, TP, is that New Canaan's taxpayers are footing the bill for whatever costs are involved in this and other services. These are meant for the use and consumption by New Canaanites and not for a landscape company from Norwalk or Stamford to roll up and fill their entire truck with free material and then sell it to the Bew Canaan homeowners who, theoretically, have already paid for it.
NCrez April 16, 2013 at 04:38 PM
Good point. Are we consistently seeing that we are running out of mulch for the fine citizens of New Canaan? Or, what is the cost (other than the purchase of a $300,000! mulching machine) to create mulch to keep up with the demand? Once we repel the interlopers, will we end up with too much mulch that will then have to be removed somehow? What is the real benefit to keeping this to town residents only? Sure will make the trip to the dump on Saturday morning even more crowded....
TP April 16, 2013 at 07:16 PM
How about just a big sign at the Waveny Mulch Pile location: 'Under Video Surveillance' with one of those fake cameras with the flashing red light ! There you go- I solved the problem for under a hundred dollars - I should be mayor !
Kendall L Owott April 16, 2013 at 07:35 PM
SOME of the landscape/snowplow crews ignore rules and common courtesy. They blow grass or plow snow wherever they want and leave a trail of debris after they are done. The Town publishes rules but nobody seems to enforce them. When residents need to clean up after the crews which are hired to clean up, something is wrong.
Walter Cerretani April 16, 2013 at 08:06 PM
In addition of the great Idea that Mr. Mallozzi proposed, if an excess of mulch is available it should be sold also to non residents.
heavens sake April 16, 2013 at 10:30 PM
Esentially the Mallozzi proposal accomplishes your suggestion. If out of towners are no longer permitted to pickup free mulch, more will be available at end of season to sell to nurserymen and they in turn will sell it to whomever is willing to buy it delivered in New Canaan or elsewhere. The town obtains extra revenue which is good and helps pay for mulch equipment. Mallozzi scores again. My only concern is that nurserymen should sell it honestly as Mulch rather than Topsoil. But then again it is difficult to mandate honesty in a free enterprise system as we are witnessing in the financial industry, Wall St , Wash.DC and even in New Canaan. In this sense Bob Mallozzi is a breath of fresh air

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