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Peekskill Officials to Address Downtown Trash Build Up

City officials want to team up with landlords, business owner to reduce the visibility of trash bags in downtown area during the weekends.

In some cases, one man’s garbage can be another man’s treasure.

But in most cases, trash is just trash and Peekskill Councilwoman Drew Claxton said she’s seeing too much of it during Monday’s Common Council work session.

Claxton said the trash situation downtown really caught her attention last Sunday.

“I don’t care what block I was on, there were bags of garbage everywhere,” Claxton said. “It was Sunday morning, some of it had been out since Saturday afternoon. I know we don’t pick up, nor can we pick up—I understand where we’re at—on Sunday. But a lot of it is household garbage.”

Claxton fears that residents or anyone entering the downtown area will be turned off by the sight of trash piles cluttering the city.

“You can go to South Street, you can go to park street, you can go to Main Street, you can go to James Street....everywhere,” Claxton said.

Acting City Manager Brian Havranek said it is a matter of building owners educating their tenants and the citing fining owners whose buildings continue to be a problem.

Hravanek added that trash pickup takes place downtown at about 10 a.m., which gives people enough time bring their trash outside for pickup on the day that it's scheduled. Hravanek said he’s sent email out to the Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Business Improvement District to get the word out to people that trash needs to be put out Monday, by 9:30 a.m.

“I think through the BID and the Chamber and through the city, we’ll just have to do some type of a mass notification collectively and see where that takes us,” Havranek said.

“We have to look at the budget if we’re going to do something else on weekends,” Hravanek said. “But at a minimum, I think we need to at least get the word out and see where that takes us. That, we can do without a lot of expense.”

Editor's Note: The name of the acting city manager of Peekskill was misspelled in an earlier version of this story. The spelling has been corrected.

Joe Carr October 13, 2012 at 11:12 AM
Simple solution: Attractive trash cans and recycling bins. Have the city sell them to landlords, and after a period of time, fine those leaving trash out in small plastic bags. I live on South Street and part of the problem is also with passers-by who simply throw their trash wherever they see a pile, including throwing trash into the flower and plant urns that attractively dot the streets downtown.
Walden Macnair October 13, 2012 at 11:27 AM
This is what leads to what is known as the "Broken Window Syndrome" which was a way to describe that little things leads to other things. Hence one window being broken and not fixed leads to another. In this instance it's trash. Trash attracts trash. Very few people will dump litter in front of St Patricks Cathedral because it's spotless. But give them a street that's already filled with trash and it doesn't seem like a big deal to dump some more. I'd start with education but the truth is you'll need to clobber some of these folks with summonses to get the point across. Simply put, you need an ordinance. You need to educate people to that ordinance. You need to give them warnings and then you need to summons them if they continue. Perhaps they don't understand that they're hurting their own business by what they're doing. As far as pick-ups on Sunday - Make them hire private sanitation to do that if they have to. Right now we can't take on any more expenses.
Patty Villanova October 13, 2012 at 12:02 PM
This has been a problem for awhile, even during the time I had my shop on Brown St. across from the now shuttered Paramount. Mrs. Klaxton herself started the CLEAN campaign a few years ago which was supposed to be a way of dealing with the unsightly garbage. Attractive garbage cans were provided & may still be out there. So what happened? Why didn't it work & why is there still a problem? One theory is that the highly paid City workers, and that includes management as well as labor, are not doing their jobs. What incentive do they have to see to it that trash is picked up or that the streets are clean if, no matter what happens, they get a paycheck every week? The mantra is "no reward for success and no penalty for failure." Maybe instead of getting rid of 40 jobs, they should impose productivity standards and cut pay- for everyone- especially management personnel who are ultimately responsible for what the streets look like. Klaxton knows this better than anyone, she's been in office long enough, yet she pretends it's all new to her. Can't believe how many people have been taken in by her act so that she keeps getting re-elected. Just like Put Valley- most of the people just don't seem to care who's got their hands in their pockets until it's too late and time to pay the piper. Which is a shame- Peekskill could be the best small city on the Hudson, yet it's 1 step forward and 3 steps back, year after year.
Liz Claire October 13, 2012 at 12:51 PM
It's been 5 years since Foster and Claxton made a clean downtown a priority and they have failed miserably. From their 2007 Platform: http://web.archive.org/web/20071008071411/http://www.peekskilldems.com/html/iniatives.html FOSTER AND RUNNING MATES ANNOUNCE C.L.E.A.N. PEEKSKILL INITIATIVE Councilwoman Mary Foster, candidate for mayor and council running mates have unveiled their CLEAN Peekskill Initiative. "The City shouldn’t wait two years to clean-up after itself. The Democrats pointed out the CLEAN Peekskill initiative is another component of their overall vision for Peekskill as the cultural and business hub of the region. In the last several weeks the Democrats have started unveiling their platform for Peekskill which has included: the hiring of an economic development officer, free three hour parking in the downtown, five new police officers, restrictions on the city’s use of eminent domain, sidewalk and streetscape improvements...“If we want to entice visitors to shop in our community and recruit business to set up shop and hire a workforce here, we need to create a clean environment,” While the CLEAN Peekskill initiative will make the City take the lead and be more proactive in combating litter...“I know how important it is for the City to redouble its efforts in keeping the downtown streets and sidewalks litter free,” PROACTIVE? CITY-LED INITIATIVE? WE SHOULDN'T WAIT TWO YEARS???ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF FOSTER'S FAILED VISION. WHO WILL STAND UP TO HER?
Liz Claire October 13, 2012 at 12:52 PM
And instead of 5 new police officers, Foster is planning on cutting how many?
Peter Goodson October 13, 2012 at 12:55 PM
This has nothing to do with better looking garbage cans. It has everything to do with this mayor and council looking the other way when their friends who buy buildings downtown allow illegal apartments to be created or to completely ignore the zoning. They even went so far as to illegally give a variance to a friend to allow 3 illegal apartments on South Street a couple of years ago. More people and families live downtown than can realistically or legally live there. They use all the downtown cans as their family garbage containers. On top of that they have already cut the workforce too much and now they will cut more. It will get much worse. Foster and Klaxton will not write summonses against their friends. Don't forget they both own buildings in the downtown that contribute to the problems.
sayitsnotsojack October 13, 2012 at 04:24 PM
As a home owner you certainly will get a fine from the department that just gave us the soon to be Meth clinic if you have the wrong length of twigs or type of garbage you would like picked up. Peekskill truly is an asylum run by the inmates.
michaelkane October 13, 2012 at 04:28 PM
This is a real problem thru out the city, on Smith St i see where garbages is out on the curb at 9:30 on Sunday morning in 99 degree weather its revolting. If the rules were followed by everyone it would not be a problem I have pasted a copy of the city code here: No garbage, trash, recyclables or other waste shall be put out on the street in the residential area for collection by any person before 6:00 p.m. on the night preceding collection nor after 7:00 a.m. of the day of collection, nor in the Business Area (zoned C-2) for collection before 6:00 a.m. or after 10:00 a.m. of the day of collection. All waste containers and mechanically emptied containers must be removed from the curbside and returned to the appropriate place of storage by the end of the day of collection. I guess its time to start with offical warnings from the city and fines. The fact is this has been a issue for years so lets start with 2 warnings then a big time fine.
joshua tanner October 13, 2012 at 05:00 PM
The whole city looks like a dump. It would be good to make building owners be more careful about their buildings. However too many Peekskill citizens are slobs and they litter everywhere they go. Kids are the main offenders. Any route to and from the schools are full of candy wrappers, McDonalds bags, tea bottles etc. Torphy Field is always full of litter and bottles. There needs to be a sign and some enforced fines. Peekskill does not seem to enforce the littering fines I see touted by signs. The signs need to be in Spanish too because a lot of Peekskill's litterbugs come from other places where littering was accepted as normal. Its no accident Peekskill looks more and more like a 2nd and 3rd world place.
FYI October 13, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Favorite garbage spots of mine are the corner of Nelson and South St., where every morning till about noon, typically 10 or more men loiter, throwing trash into the walled planting area on the NW corner, or on any given Sunday morning on Division, north of Main, you find the styrofoam cartons with remnants of last night's carryout meals from a post drinking binge, with occasional puddles of vomit and/or urine and/or used baby diaper. Check out the spaces in between the buildings here for a treasure trove of trash.
Wendy Kelly October 13, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Peter Goodson and Josh Tanner I couldn';t have said it any better. Wait Mary will clean things up when she gets the Meth Clinic out of town. Just wait but please don't hold your breath you may die before Mary gets this clinic kicked out of town. Mary give the citizens of this once great city what maybe 2 years I was able to go in downtown and not fera for my life. After last PC meeting I looked around Peekskill and saw it as it was in late 80's early 90's I never frequented ever. Peter Goodson I would really like to reach out to you w.kelly1@verizon.net
paula October 13, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Why would you blame the 'high paid city workers' if the garbage is overflowing on Sundays? Could it be more likely that folks are having house parties in residential areas on Saturday nights?? In non-residential areas could it be that the restaurants have more Saturday night traffic and thus more trash? Fine the restaurants and businesses! Fine the landlords and/or the tenents? Why attack the 'highly paid city workers' who are not working picking up trash on Sundays? I mean really, don't get your panties in a wad at the wrong people. Jeesh.. channel that anger into action at the appropriate people via the appropriate dept.
paula October 13, 2012 at 11:32 PM
+1
RK October 14, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Every one keeps saying fine them, fine them, Who is going to do it? They cut DPW workers and reorganized parks & rec a couple of years ago - all those "highly paid" workers as Patty calls them are doing double if not triple duty trying to get through all their responsibilities. Picking up trash is just one of them, never mind going door to door to cite people - even if they jotted down the house numbers and sent the summons thru the mail, that still takes time to research the owners and do the paperwork. City hall staff is overwhelmed also. Don't allow City Hall to cut staff again and then complain that the work is not getting done! They haven't even cut this next round yet and everyone is already complaining. Just wait til the consequences of the 2013 cuts are felt. Garbage, grass cutting & trimming along the roads and sidewalks, street cleaning, you name it - we will really look bad then.
joshua tanner October 14, 2012 at 03:10 AM
Trash fines would help pay the bills. I keep seeing signs with $200+ fines posted but NOBODY seems afraid to litter. Five littering fines a week would be over $1000 and it would be easy tp give out five citations. You can tell the real litterbugs. Some people just drop stuff accidentally - or they try to be covert about it. Others just throw stuff in the road ostentatiously like they are asking to be busted. A fav patch story is about a guy who got busted for drugs after being stopped for littering .. "Littering Leads To Peekskill Felony Drug Arrests" http://peekskill.dailyvoice.com/police-fire/littering-leads-peekskill-felony-drug-arrests
millwgt October 14, 2012 at 02:39 PM
You do not need to warn the people. Just write the tickets/fines. As a homeowner i put my bulk trash out on the wrong day by the time i got home from my job around 5pm Wednesday i already had a 50.00$ fine for the trash. when i called to fight it they quoted the regulations and said there was nothing they could do,I should be aware of the rules
Leslie Masson October 15, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Your intentional misspelling of Councilwoman Claxton's name is quite obnoxious. You are too smart a woman to continually act like a smart _ss.
RealTimeRufus October 15, 2012 at 07:34 PM
If you had the death penalty for littering, people wouldn't litter. If I were mayor, I'd consider passing such a law. But that's me. I can be a little extreme at times. Perhaps a better solution would be to force the offender to eat the trash on the spot. Probably as good a deterrent as the hangman. I look forward to getting your vote next year. REAL TIME 4 MAYOR. HE'LL STOP THE LITTERING.
Wendy Kelly October 15, 2012 at 07:55 PM
I oppose Meth Clinic and litter bugs too!
Coach Girl 1971 October 17, 2012 at 11:47 AM
To all City Council Members, if you want to clean up Peekskill maybe when your leaving City Hall you should turn your heads to the left and take a look up the block at 205 Nelson Ave. This utterly disgusting apartment building is allowed to keep its doors open, even though it is violating numerous city and housing laws. No screens on any windows in the building, no safety bars on any windows to prevent children from falling out of the "screen-less" windows. People not able to open their windows due to having no screens, and the constant infestation of flies that surround the building. The building is also infested with mice, and when i say infested, thats exactly what i mean. There is constantly garbage on the street and sidewalk in front of building, along with an area, by the door way that smells so strongly of urine, you have to hold your breath. And all of this literally steps from City Hall's front door!!!! So if you want to clean up Peekskill, get rid of the slum lords, who take money from tenants, but never put that money back into the community, or their own property!!! Makes me think is the Mayor or her Council members in the pocket of slum lord Anthony from Kelly Courts, 205 Nelson Ave???? Are they taking money to turn their heads and not look down the street???? Do they care that this man is a welfare scammer, that he has 9 people living in a one bedroom apartment??? Or is the money their taking from him just too good????

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