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JULY 08 - JULY 16, 2014

Dyster trash plan and enforcement dumps on residents

By Anna M. Howard

July 08, 2014

Modern Disposal will pick up totes for the city.

While the city has been in turmoil for the past two months over the Dyster-Owens trash/recycling plan, what has gone unnoticed, until now, is that Dyster has prepared a 34-page city ordinance titled "Solid Waste Refuse and Recycling."

Sources in city hall tell us Corporation Counsel Craig Johnson and Dyster have been hard at work on the new ordinance since late last year. While the ordinance has been written for some time it's, only now moving to a public hearing on Monday (July 14) at 4 p. m. in the council chambers.

Since Dyster-Owens "dropped the bomb" of their recycling and trash program, city residents have been information starved and hundreds of city businesses have been forced to rent commercial dumpsters in the face of suddenly losing trash pickup services.

Some of this blowback apparently made its way to Dyster: the mayor had a July 7 council meeting agenda item designed to address some of the Dyster-Owens trash problems.

There are now two balls in the air for residents to keep their eye on: the implementation of the Dyster-Owens program and the new ordinance giving the city the power to enforce and fine trash/recycling lawbreakers.

The ordinance lists numerous ways a homeowner, business owner, or landlord can commit a violation and find themselves on the receiving end of a citation, a citation that will be issued by the DPW Director or his "designee."

First offense is a warning, no fine. Second offense is a $50 fine, third offense is a $100 fine, fourth offense is a $150 fine and any violations beyond that fourth come in at $250 each.

Lest anyone think that the city is making idle threats, section E of the ordinance states: "If any penalty imposed pursuant to this Chapter remains unpaid for 30 days the City Council may authorize the Corporation Counsel to commence a civil action to collect such a fine."

When Dyster launched his new trash/recycling initiative some people said it was an attempt to devise one more way to fleece the residents and it's shaping up just that way.

Dyster has, in the past, raised a raft of fees regarding golfers, picnic shelter rental, the city portable stage, canine licensing, building code violations and more. And he tried several times to launch a parking department…which would cost $1,000,000 to initiate while returning a fraction of the start-up costs in parking fees…with all of this to take place under the costly eye of a "parking consultant."

Dyster, the progressive liberal, has continually looked for ways to charge the city resident more to live here. And he's done that while wasting millions of dollars in casino cash, spending millions more for the courthouse, running the train station over budget before ground was broken, and spending millions on consultants including $276,000 to do a park inventory counting the trees, swings and slides-- more than a quarter of a million dollars-- and not one tree, children's swing or single flower to show for that expense.

As for the Dyster-Owens trash/recycling plan, more questions than answers remain.

Why did Dyster-Owens saddle the city with a 96 gallon recycling tote and a 64 gallon trash tote? Every community in the nation dedicates the smaller tote to recycling.

Why did Dyster-Owens wait until the Modern contract had virtually expired before sharing their new contract with the council?

Why did Dyster and the corporation counsel keep the trash ordinance under wraps until now with a public hearing set for July 14 as the August 1 rollout draws near?

Why didn't Dyster-Owens conduct a listening tour before they executed the contract with Modern?

Why didn't the city council seek resident input before approving the contract?

Not lost on this reporter is the fact that the city council will be in recess throughout August. The program rolls out Aug. 1, the first day of their vacation, and they won't return until after Labor Day. tThe timing is just too cute to be an accident.

The Dyster-Owens trash debacle is clearly going to grow, both in debacle and in costs to execute. In fact we predict that this program will result in an increase in employee overtime, an increase in employee stipends, and pay-raises for favored employees. All of these increases will take place through DPW, Law, Finance and Code Enforcement, just for starters.

We predict that there will be a provision in the 2015 budget calling for the creation and funding of a Department of Trash and Recycling. This department will either be a brand new department or a "wing" inside DPW.

Non transparent, inefficient, confusing, costly and questionable as to motive are just a few of the ways to describe what Dyster-Owens have pulled on the residents of Niagara Falls with their trash/recycling program.





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