Sunday, April 15, 2007

update on garbage/debri on roads...

I received an e mail from Al Regula, Commissioner of Public Works today (Sunday). I appreciate the fact that the commissioner is out working today and took the time to respond to concerns about litter on state roads.
"Section 60 of the Highway law provides that the town, after being petitioned by residents whose property abuts a state highway, can contract for the removal of filth and refuse from the state highway and that the cost for such work shall be assessed upon the property abutting." I hope that the Town Board will discuss the garbage/debri issue at upcoming meetings and will give this the highest priority attention. I also hope that the Board will be receptive to give the Commissioner additional resources, as requested, so we can do a great job keeping Greenburgh clean.
In addition...I will ask the police chief to provide members of the public and the Town Board with an update re: number of tickets issued to people who are littering. I will also ask the Police Chief to direct police officers to step up efforts to ticket those who throw garbage on roads.
This is an important quality of life issue.


It's the town's job said...

It still looks like it's very much the town's responsibility to clean up litter on state roads.

Al Regula is a great guy and a real asset to the town -- but there's no way he or anyone else can construe Highway Law 60 as making it the state's responsibility to clean up the litter on state roads running through the town.

Highway Law 60 recognizes, implicitly, that cleaning up the litter on state roads is a town responsibility.

The state helps out with the litter problem by making it a violation of state law to litter along state roads. And towns are authorized to enforce those anti-litter laws by having the local police ticket anyone spotted doing so.

But that's about it as far as the state's responsibility is concerned.

The rest is up to the town.

But even though the town has the authority to pick up litter once it's there, there is no law requiring that the town actually exercise that authority.

Most cities, towns and villages do of course exercise that authority; Greenburgh does not and it shows.

Highway Law 60 provides one remedy, but it's not the only one.

Highway Law 60 says that if a town fails to pick up the litter along a state road, and 50% of the property owners along that road sign a petition demanding that the town pick it up, then the town may so do so by charging all property owners whose properties are affected by the cleanup.

But keeping state roads in towns free of litter is a town responsibility.

The town can exercise that responsibility in at least three ways: (1) it can wait for a petition from the property owners affected in accordance with Highway Law 60; (2) it can create a state road litter pickup district; and 3) it can establish a litter pick up program for town roads in which event, there is an attorney general opinion suggesting that it would be illegal and unconstitutional for the town not to clean up the litter along state roads too.

The other thing to remember is that if the town chooses the third option, the cost must be charged town-wide -- unless the town acts in accordance with the procedures set forth in the suburban town law, in which event the costs may be charged only to the town's unincorporated areas.

Anonymous said...

The accumulated filth along the roadways of Unincorporated Greenburgh is the only thing I don't like about living here. It truly is a major matter for me that will help me decide whom to vote for as town supervisor.

But it's not only litter we're dealing with. It's years of the town allowing weeds to grow and rubble to accumulate (i.e. the Central Park Avenue median strips), as well as years of leaf debris.

Since many of the problem areas do not abut anyone's individual property lines (i.e Central Park Avenue between Ardsley Road and Clifton Road), there's no one to assess for the neglect other than the town itself, especially in the case of the median strips.

Also, many areas actually seem to call out to welcome litter because the town chooses to allow weeds and rubble and leaf debris to accumulate year after year. So, in someone's irresponsible mindset, why not just toss litter there, too?

It would save a lot of time, drama and money in the big picture if the town management would just do its job, and do it well, without dragging this out and involving the town council and the state attorney general and the police chief and whoever else ... Just clean the roadways regularly, like all the other towns and cities do, and that's that.

Anonymous said...

Greenburgh is not unique when it comes to debri and garbage on roads. Many localities experience similar problems during the spring. Ever hear of the term spring cleaning?

Anonymous said...

In Westchester County, yes, Unincorporated Greenburgh is unique in this regard.

There are a few neighborhoods in Yonkers that have been problematic, but at least the city has an professional action plan ongoing to deal with those neighborhoods.

Other than that, sorry to inform that Unincorporated Greenburgh as a whole is, in fact, known as the most neglected in the county when it comes to routine roadway maintenance.

Anonymous said...

Curbside garbage should be checked. residents combine garbage ,constuction debris all together. Regula enforce the laws. As far as garbage on the main roads it's also the problems of the store keepers.garbage Dumpster, should be covered by law.There are so many things that contribute to the filth.bIRDS GO TO DUMPSTERS looking for food. Sometimes ,debris from the dumpsters,are messed up by people looking for cans and bottles,causing paper and plastic to fly arround. Give out some fines and maybe this will help clean up part of the situation.

Anonymous said...

Among other failings, the town is busy banning the circus and constructing hideous walls on central avenue instead of focussing on making the town presentable. One might add that if it took Feiner 16 years to see the problem (including months of complaints from bloggers about this), he is unfit for the job. We need a new set of eyes to see the town's problems.

Anonymous said...

If we do not complain about the things that should be Feiner ,how would he know what was going on.Let's face it we have to help the situation along also. You complain he answers you.What more do you want. The department heads are the ones who should take the time out to see as to what is happening in town.We need cooperation from everyone who receives a paycheck.

Feiner is not a leader said...

dear anon at 1:11

One of the jobs of a supervisor is to lead. Where has Feiner lead on this vital quality of life issue in his 16 year tenure? Can you name a single Feiner initiative to reduce visual clutter or pollution on our roads? Oh, lets no forget his great effort to put up that ugly wall in front of
Webb Field. Feiner's only leadership skill is obtaining campaign contributions from developers and their agents with applications before the town board in violation of the town's ethics code. We need new leadership. Feiner is past his expiration date.

hal samis said...

How about this?

The Supervisor proposes a solution.
The Town Council complains that it is incomplete, not specific and therefore unacceptable. A year later the Town Council offers part one of their solution: they have verified the existence of litter along State Roads and there does not seem to be any correlation as to whether there is a gap in the accompanying sidewalk. In another 18 months, part two, their field research tabulations will be completed on whether the garbage is recyclable or biodegradeable and what type of retrieval equipment and quantity labor will be required to harvest it. At the Public Hearings on the 2010 Budget, the cost associated with the hiring of two additional DPW employees is debated and whether these costs should be applied to the A or B budgets on a per mile basis of Road or on the actual mileage within the hosting part of the Town. However, the item is withdrawn when it is pointed out that the Court has not yet ruled on the Bernstein #2 appeal.

Meanwhile, Con Ed has agreed to send in crews to remove weeds from utility poles for re-planting along right-of-ways in Edgemont under the 2008 Town initiative to create more "greenspace" in areas where land acquisition costs are high.

As for the removal of weeds from medians, the implementation of that program has been stalled due to the the problem in finding temp personnel from Agencies who have not contributed to the election campaigns of any of the five Town Board members, any political party or ever bought girl scout cookies.

Anonymous said...

Glad that the supervisor is focusing attention on keeping Greenburgh clean. The community supports the supervisor's initiatives.

Jim Lasser said...

Things like maintenance and repair shouldn't be "initiatives." They are part and parcel of the job of running a town in New York. The community shouldn't "support" these things - they have every right to expect them, and should be demanding them if they are not happening. Apartment dwellers like the Supervisor sometimes fail to appreciate that dull, boring, no-photo-op-here chores simply need to be done. They cost money - and the Supervisor's job should be to budget sufficient funds to get the job done. Budgeting for sufficient staff to perform the work in a safe and efficient manner is also the non-delegatable job of the Supervisor. Taking responsibility for proposing a budget which meets the real needs of the Town is the job of the Supervisor - it is not something where the failure to perform can be foisted off onto rest of the Town Board. If the Supervisor presented a responsible budget and the rest of the Board failed to adopt it, or eviscerated it, then they would be culpable. But that hasn't happened. The political decision to defer maintenance and instead acquire substantial amounts of unmaintained parkland and keep taxes artificially low has been the sole province of the Supervisor. The time when we will all begin to pay for his neglect seems to be approaching.

Feiner the problem said...

Paul Feiner is a fraud. He allowed his campaign posters to remain in place on telephone poles (illegally i might add) months after the election was over. He is the problem not the problem solver.

Anonymous said...

Jim ,Your thinking is that of a Edgemont resident .Yes main strets should be maintained by the town .We as residents of Greenburgh,should help the cause of cleaning up.Clean up your own house before you start blaming Feiner for not knowing the law. In greenburgh, some home owners bag their leave, bunch up all the twigs, check out these areas and see how clean they are.