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FEB 03 - FEB 10, 2015

Trash Program Needs To Be Fixed

By Glenn Choolokian
Niagara Falls Council

February 03, 2015

Glenn Choolokian Niagara Falls Council

It’s time for the Mayor and Council to get together and reassess the city’s new trash and recycling program because what we have now isn’t working.

From the very start last spring the program was administered incorrectly. It was rushed onto the council agenda and approved by the mayor’s council majority. The trouble is no one, not the mayor and not the council majority appeared to know what they had gotten the city into.

For several years it had been no secret that the city’s trash contract was expiring. Previous chairman Sam Fruscione noted this more than two years ago and when I was chairman in 2013 I encouraged the Dyster administration to move responsibly in the city’s best interest to seek a new garbage contract.

That contract, I stated at the time, should allow for earned revenue based on residents participating in the recycling program.

In the middle of 2014 the Dyster administration and the council majority decided to drop a last-minute garbage contract on the residents that had $2.2 million dollars wrapped up in totes paid for with casino revenue. Those totes were the wrong size with the large tote for recycling and the smaller tote for trash. The fact that the totes were the wrong size was pointed out to the mayor by a refuse consultant and the mayor ignored the warning.

Also in the new trash and recycling plan was a city ordinance that called for violators of the program to be fined and for the creation of a city SWEET office with SWEET employees. I voted against the trash ordinance.

As usual the city administration went ahead behind closed doors with a select, special group of elected officials and city employees calling the shots on the new trash and recycling program contract.

Closed-door negotiation is the rule in the Dyster administration and the less transparent the project is the more fouled up it turns out to be in the end. And, we all

Remarkably , the totes are reversed. The larger one (left) is for recycling and the smaller one (right) is for refuse.

know how fouled up this new city trash plan is.

The totes cost too much, the trash contract has been modified several times with each modification costing the taxpayer more money, the businesses were ignored, and the recycling rules have been changed since the plan started. Along with this the plans to put blue lids on green totes and the “porter service” have been a disaster.

Right now the residents are confused as to bulk pickup, porter service, the handling of their requests for larger trash totes (blue lids on green totes), the enforcement of the trash ordinance, recyclables and a lot more.

The shame is that it didn’t have to be confused like this, but as it always does the city administration presented the trash contract at the last minute and forced it through before questions could be asked. Questions if answered correctly would have saved taxpayer money and a lot of resident headaches.

I am respectfully asking Mayor Dyster to meet with the council in the interest of good government and the general welfare of our residents to fix a trash plan that has turned out to be costly and unworkable.


Councilman Glenn Choolokian points out that the residents of Niagara Falls do not understand the murky nature of the new trash ordinance, particularly the new enforcement issues which will allow the SWEET Team (SWEET stands for -- Sanitation Waste Education and Enforcement [note the word ‘enforcement’]) to monitor people’s garbage. Fines will be levied if people do not obey!






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