Mayor DeBlasio’s word is garbage, say angry Ridgites who say he’s gone back on his promise to meet with them about trash-collection problems.
Residents of four private Bay Ridge streets are impatiently waiting for a face-to-face meeting with Hizzoner, or at least a senior staff member, to discuss the city’s sudden decision to end garbage pickup earlier this year — a sit-down that was promised, but never scheduled, by a staffer back in June.
The Department of Sanitation’s demand that the residents drag their garbage out to the nearest public street is a nonsensical policy that the mayor could easily reverse if he would just hear them out, said one resident.
“I’m shocked that the mayor didn’t get involved because I think if the mayor were to get involved, he’d be able to inject some common sense into the matter and bring it to a quick resolution into our favor,” said Bill Larney, a resident of Barwell Terrace, one of the four private streets affected by the new policy.
In March, the Department of Sanitation suddenly abandoned its decades-old practice of sending workers on foot down the narrow private roads to collect household garbage and demanded that residents drag their trash to the closest public sidewalks — a practice which residents insist is both dangerous and against the city’s Health and Administrative code. Last month, residents of Barwell Terrace, Wogan Terrace, Hamilton Walk, and Lafayette Walk — including Larney — responded by filing suit against the city and the Department of Sanitation seeking restoration of service.
Back in June, Bay Ridge City Council candidate Liam McCabe brought a day’s worth of trash from Barwell Terrace to the mayor’s residence at Gracie Mansion in a pickup truck to try and force Mayor DeBlasio to address the issue. McCabe said Daniel Abramson, the Brooklyn Borough Director of the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, spoke to him outside the mansion and promised that someone the mayor’s office would soon meet with the residents.
Abramson followed up with an email a week later, according to McCabe, and even reached out to Community Board 10 for the contact information of the affected residents. But Abramson never followed through on scheduling a meeting between the residents and the mayor or anyone from his office. Abramson did not reply to a request for comment by press time.
A resident of one of the private streets affected who received a phone call from Abramson to discuss the policy said that he listened to her point of view, but she did not get the sense that the conversation would bring about any sort of change.
“It was really just kind of a perfunctory reach out,” said Amanda Regnier, a resident of Wogan Terrace who is also a petitioner in the lawsuit. “It seemed like a formality that he heard me out, but it didn’t change what he was saying back to me.”
The city has insisted that the policy change is a safety issue, but Larney and other residents have charged that this rationale does not make sense, not only because the private streets are safe, but also because the policy ignores the safety of the residents — some of whom are elderly or disabled.
“In my opinion, going down the alleyway of Barwell Terrace is safer than going down a public street,” Larney said. “It’s isolated. It’s quiet. They’re concerned about the safety of a Sanitation worker walking down an alleyway, but they don’t care about the safety of an elderly or infirm person now having to bring their trash 150 yards to the curb.”
Beckmann said there are no records of Sanitation workers injured while collecting garbage on the four private streets. And Regnier and Larney said that emergency medical technicians, firefighters, and police officers regularly walk down the four private streets on foot, which calls into question the city’s defense of the new trash policy.
Larney said he and his neighbors filed suit because this is a clear-cut case of taxation without sanitation.
“We’re already entitled to all city services,” he said. “Sanitation revoked or completely modified the services we’re entitled to and yet we pay full city tax.”
The residents will have their day in court on Aug. 18 in Kings County Supreme Court, according to Stephen Harrison, the attorney representing the residents.
The Department of Sanitation directed all related questions to the Law Department, which declined to comment.
©2017 Community News Group
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