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Massena man wants changes to village cleanup procedure

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MASSENA - A Massena resident urged the village board to hold a public hearing to discuss making changes to the village’s annual spring cleanup.

Donald Lucas shared several concerns about the cleanup procedures. “I would request that the board designate a meeting for public comment. There are a lot of people that have some issues with the service,” he said. “Myself, I think it’s a very worthwhile project. It keeps a lot of the clutter that would end up out in the country dump and at the state park from people that are resorting to that method,” he said.

“But I am quite concerned with some of the abuses that I’ve seen. It’s just amazing that people could put out as much trash for one unit that would be enough to fill half of this room to the ceiling. Then on top of that, putting it the width of their property, all entirely on the sidewalk.”

Mr. Lucas pointed to a home on Liberty Avenue. “It was just disgusting to watch the kids have to go in the roads to go around this mess,” he said.

The village resident added that his most pressing concern has to do with “pickers” who scope out items left at the curb, frequently after dark.

“I had absolutely nothing at my curbside this year - nothing at all. I can’t tell you how many times I woke up in the middle of the night because my dogs were barking because somebody was picking my neighbor’s garbage. ... This occupation that these people have of going around all night long should not be allowed,” Mr. Lucas said.

“The other day I was in my garage working and I can hear when a vehicle slows down in front of my property. So I happened to look out and there were a couple of guys that I did not recognize - I am quite sure they were from out of town - and they were picking and they happened to be gazing into my garage. When they saw me, boy they straightened up and they went down the road.”

Mr. Lucas said the rules already on the books needed to be tightened up and new regulations need to be added.

“I just have a problem with leaving this open haphazardly as we have. I know in other municipalities there are some costs recuperated by a permit. If you’re going to be a picker, you go down and you buy a permit and you post in the window of your car,” Mr. Lucas said.

“The town generates some revenue to offset the cost of the service and then the people that have issues with these vehicles pulling up and throwing trash all over your yard as they’re trying to find something that they feel is valuable, they have a report number that they can call in and report these violators. When I say violators, I’m talking about people that are just haphazardly throwing junk around the place.

“My observation is that it’s a pilgrimage in the spring for people to come into town. I watched this one guy - he had a dump box truck with a tri-axle trailer with sideboards as tall as this room - he had his truck and his trailer loaded, going down Liberty Avenue at about two miles per hour with his four-way flashers on so he could rubberneck and check out the piles,” he said.,.

Mr. Lucas noted that other people he has talked have similar concerns and he suggested banning pickers.

“I see this spring cleanup as a lot of money going out the door,” he said. “On Center Street, there is a multiple apartment unit that has 10 televisions sitting on the curb right now and pickup is done for that street already. Those will sit there until some kid vandalizes them and smashes the glass, or as they do every year, take them down to the footbridge and throw them over.

He called on village officials to take steps to address abuse of the system by landlords. “Multiple apartment owners are in the business to make a profit. They’re generating more trash than I am and they’re only paying as much taxes as I am. I think there should be a ban on multiple dwellings of having to pick up because some of these landlords around here have properties in Norfolk and Waddington and other towns and their central dumping spot is their property where they’re paying taxes in Massena. I don’t see why the taxpayers should be paying to subsidize landlords. The landlords should make there own tenants responsible,” according to Mr. Lucas.

Massena Mayor James F. Hidy said the issues raised by Mr. Lucas deserve discussion.

“I think he brings up a valid concern and I think it’s something that everybody’s thought of. I think before next year we have to sit down and take a hard look and maybe look at some potential changes to the way that we’re doing things,” he said.

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