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JAN 13 - JAN 20, 2015

Moving The Goalposts as Dyster's Trash Plan Unravels

By Sarah Martinez

January 13, 2015

Hard to believe: Niagara Falls is the only city in America where the recycle bins (left) are larger than the refuse bins (right) and where people, (whom, by the way, pay about the highest taxes in America) have to wait months, if they qualify, to get one larger tote. In almost every other city, including every city in Western NY, you can get a second bin for a modest fee. Not so in Niagara Falls.

Mayor Paul Dyster's new Garbage plan is, as we predicted, not quite what it was promised to be.
The Reporter has learned that hundreds of City Residents have pleaded with the head of the Dyster Administration's newly created Sanitation Waste Education Enforcement Team, to provide a remedy for their garbage problems as a result of Dyster's new Trash Ordinance.

SWEET's response: Get in line with the over 400 residents who have now been placed on a waiting list to get their new insufficient, small capacity 64 gallon garbage tote exchanged for a 96 gallon tote.

The problem is, according to SWEET- it could take up to six months to switch your tote to a larger one.
Last year, the mayor purchased over $2 million in garbage totes using casino cash, and implemented one of the most unique garbage/recycling plans across the entire state of New York. He decided that because Niagara Falls was among the lowest in recycling, he would revoke the ability of residents to independently decide how to dispose their trash. He mandated that the people of Niagara Falls would no longer be able use their own containers, or multiple containers. Instead, he assigned all families across the board, even families as large as seven, one 64 gallon garbage tote.

A tote only big enough to hold 3-4 standard size kitchen bags. The average family throws away a bag of garbage a day- a family with multiple children and pets can produce even more.

Dyster decided to also assign each household a recycling tote- at a much larger 96 gallon capacity. The 64-gallon garbage totes are the smallest used by any municipality in Western New York and by reversing the standard sizes of the totes - making recycling totes larger than garbage totes, it has caused an uproar among citizens. As indicated by the hundreds of complaints for larger totes, residents are inconvenienced and overwhelmed with garbage.

Families are struggling to fit their garbage in the new small capacity designated tote. Residents have called SWEET to find resolution, only to be pushed into a waiting list that has over 400 residents in line. According to Brooke D'Angelo, head of SWEET, the phone calls, messages and grievances regarding the inadequacy of these newly designated small totes has become overwhelming, which has created the long waiting list.

She said that the resolution to this problem will be the city switching the smaller tote for a larger 96 gallon, but, residents are still only permitted one. Even families of seven will only be able to qualify for one tote- regardless of circumstance.

In addition, due to the number of requests, a 3-6 month waiting list is to be expected. Until then, if a large family cannot manage to fit their garbage into the 64 gallon tote, SWEET advises that residents can hire a private garbage collection service to haul away their garbage.

As if the inadequate size of the garbage tote isn't enough, an additional problem has emerged from Dyster's Trash Plan. Senior citizens and disabled residents of the city are now required to haul their 64 gallon refuse tote and 96 gallon recycling tote from the rear or side of their home, to the front for garbage collection. Formerly they could dispose of refuse in plastic garbage bags.

When confronted with this issue by a concerned senior citizen, Dyster said that porter service is available for residents who are unable to take the totes to the curb.
When asked about the qualifications for porter service, D'Angelo advised that there are conditions to qualify. A resident wishing porter service must first obtain a written statement from a physician stating that they are not capable of moving their trash. Then, they must provide proof of homeowners insurance, or permission from a landlord if renting, for release of liability for the city. All pathways must be clear of snow and debris. Finally, proof must be submitted to SWEET declaring that no one in the household is capable of helping the applicant move the garbage totes. An application must also be submitted, with the requested documentation before SWEET will consider assisting those in need of help.





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