City Crews ‘Followed Policy’ When Piling Storm Debris on Front Lawn

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Rocky Burgett's Tree Service clears up storm debris for free after Public Works placed it on a woman's front lawn.

Rocky Burgett’s Tree Service clears up storm debris for free after city works placed it on a woman’s front lawn.

DES MOINES, Iowa – Public Works says crews were following policy when they placed storm debris on a woman’s front lawn.

On Friday, a Channel 13 viewer shot video of city crews removing a large tree branch that had fallen across part of Center Street.

After cutting up the branch, crews stacked the debris in the homeowner’s yard despite two empty dump trucks parked nearby.

The Des Moines Public Works department says its crew followed city policy.

The crew was heading to clear a downed tree on public property when it came across the problem. They stopped to move the large branch out of the roadway at the address because it was causing a traffic problem.

“To keep this operation going and to get our crews that are limited resource like everything else to get those streets open, that private debris goes back on the area where it came from and that’s what happened at 2513 [Center Street] it was placed neatly back on that property for that property owner to deal with,” Public Works director Pat Kozitza said.

And after seeing our story, a local tree service stepped in to deal with it.

Rocky Burgett’s Tree Service loaded up all of the debris and hauled it away free of charge.


  • Right Wing Patriot

    Classic government bureauarcy at work. Did someone on the crew think..,,,.Lets call in to dispatch/supervisor and see if we can do the neighborly thing and assist a citizen in need. Sometimes good common sense needs to win out.

    • Taxpayer, not 'Freeloader'

      So where do they stop? Would you prefer to have the crews doing this for every private property and NOT handling the public property. It said the crew was on the way to a specific issue, they stopped and got this tree out of the road on their way somewhere else. they had already delayed their intended job.

  • Sue

    How does something like this even make the news? I, Miss Homeowner, do not want to take responsibility for my property or the damage on it. I think I’ll go to the TV station and complain because the city is not taking care of my property. Perhaps, when the city crews are out mowing the public parks she would like them to stop by and mow her lawn too. They’ve got the mowers after all. And, they could paint her house too, the probably have to paint public buildings sometimes. For Pete’s sake, if you don’t want the responsibility of maintaining a home, live in an apartment/condo/townhome and pay a landlord or association to handle it for you. I hope she at least offered to pay Rocky Burgett like she claims she did the city. Just because you pay property taxes it does not mean the city should babysit you.

    • Sue

      where would you have them draw the line, John? If they do this for her, shouldn’t they do it for EVERYONE? Then they wouldn’t have time to clean up the public areas. Your home, your responsibility.

    • Brian

      Hey John, I had to pay to have the damage to my yard cleaned up, while I appreciate the city keeping the roads clear I really don’t think I (we) should have to pay for this resident to clean her yard.

    • Sue

      That is a really screwed up law unless I get to control what my neighbors plant and how well they take care of it. If you decide to have a huge maple (soft wood) tree in your yard, I should not have to bear the expense for dealing with it if it breaks and falls on my house, car, fence, etc.

      • thebullishmoose

        Forgot to mention, there is one exception. If the neighbor is deemed negligent in the care of the tree then they can be held liable for the mess. If it falls as a part of nature or “act of god” it is not the fault of the property owner for which the tree resides.

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