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Baraboo may limit brush site hours to combat abuse

February 8, 2019 GMT

Looking to keep a closer eye on who’s using its brush yard, Baraboo is considering restricting the location’s hours.

The Briar Street brush and compost site was established to give residents a place to dispose of yard waste. But Baraboo Street Superintendent Tony Gilman said he suspects contractors and non-residents are dumping items there. On Monday, he told the city’s Public Safety Committee contractor waste — trees in particular — may make up half the brush pile.

“That’s something we need to look at,” Gilman said.

Gilman suggested restricting hours of operation and placing a gate at the brush yard’s entrance. That would make it easier to determine who’s using the site. It’s currently under surveillance by heat-sensing cameras, whose footage Gilman reviews when he notices unusual activity.

“We’ve got to make it more definitive,” Gilman said. “Obviously we can’t man it 24 hours a day.”

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The committee directed Gilman to ask other communities how they monitor use of their brush yards. He said some communities conduct random identification checks to determine whether users are residents.

Gilman said some users are dumping lumber, which isn’t allowed, and other construction materials. All illegal activity places a burden on city taxpayers who fund the site’s operation, including the chipping of brush. Handling illegally dumped items requires staff time and equipment use.

“We’ve had TVs, couches, aquariums and kitchen appliances dumped up there,” Gilman said. “All items that do not belong create an additional cost to dispose of.”

He plans to post the rules more clearly and work with the council to make sure there are definitive, enforceable rules for the site.

“We want to make the whole compost and brush site look nice,” Gilman said.