When it comes to garbage cans, it’s Marty’s way, or the highway.
A Sanitation official said last Tuesday that pressure from Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) forced the city to return public trash bins that had removed at the request of residents despite the fact that the “pilot program” to keep merchants and residents from dumping in and around the Fourth Avenue bins had been working.
Sanitation official Russ Romano told Community Board 10’s environmental committee that had Golden not asked for the bins to be put back, they would still be off the street.
“The order came from above,” he said at a meeting last Thursday night. “If [a politician] says they want something, they try to make them happy.”
Romano admitted that the city received fewer complaints after removing the cans, and that the pilot program had appeared to be working.
“We’ve definitely had less complaints,” he said.
The city removed baskets along Fourth Avenue from Ovington Avenue and 68th Street at the request of Community Board 10 in April to see if the absence of cans would curb dumpers from stuffing the bins with household and commercial trash. But the pilot program was never completed because Golden demanded the bins be returned.
CB10’s environmental committee chairman Greg Ahl — who is on a crusade to rid the neighborhood of litter by removing every public trash can in town — said Golden’s end-around was causing the Community Board to waste its time.
“All the work we do is meaningless if Marty Golden says he wants them back,” said Ahl.
But Romano pointed out that meddling pols was part business — and locals should get used to it.
“It’s not a question of what’s fair,” he said. “Things are how they are.”
But Golden said getting trash cans back on the street was just good leadership.
“I didn’t go behind their back. I fought for the community to keep it clean,” the lawmaker said. “This is something I think is a necessary service and I’m not about to let it go away.”
Board members who say the bins have once again become Dumpsters for local homes and businesses who would rather leave their trash next to a public bin then in front of their home or business now want the city step up enforcement of illegal dumping.
A sympathetic Romano said that he would patrol problem areas and would request that cans be removed — though he wasn’t optimistic that it would do any good, since pols could just go over his head if they disagree with a policy.
“We’re caught in the middle,” he said after the meeting. “If it was up to me, I would voice my opinion on that. But will someone pull rank on me? I don’t know.”
Romano added that even though the removal of the bins had been a success, his office has not received an increase in complaints of dumping since the bins were put back.
And Golden isn’t the only pol to have spoken out against the can ban. Rep. Michael Grimm (R–Bay Ridge) also www.brookl
The city threw residents — and Golden — a bone early last month when it added an extra pickup to its usual four to six days a week, a move that board members said had made a difference. But the increase still fell way short of the up to 21 pick-ups the city used to make before it chose to cut back in 2009 to save money.Reach reporter Dan MacLeod at dmacleod@c