Ogdensburg landfill to open following complaints from residents over spring debris issue
By JIMMY LAWTON
OGDENSBURG – Ogdensburg will open its landfill from 9 a.m. until noon on Saturdays following complaints from residents who improperly placed yard debris in the city right-of-way after spring pickup was completed.
The city has struggled to find a balance between a yard waste pickup schedule that pleases residents and is feasible for the Department of Public Works to complete after it was downsized over the past few years.In the spring, yard waste may be placed on the homeowners' property between the edge of the street and the sidewalk or along the edge of the street.
However the spring cleanup ended the last Sunday in May and residents continued to place waste in the city right-of-way.
To address this issue the DPW issued the following notice to all offenders:
“It was noticed today that yard waste from your property has been placed in the boulevard for collection. You may not be aware that the City is no longer picking up yard waste on a regular basis during the summer months. The last day to place material out until the mid-summer pick up was May 20th.
“It is the property owner’s responsibility to manage their yard waste between scheduled pickup periods. The City’s land clearing debris landfill, on outer Champlain Street, is available Monday through Friday from 8 am to 3 pm to drop debris off.
“Please remove the debris from the boulevard immediately. The City will return to verify the debris has been removed. If the debris has not been removed, the property owner will be issued a violation by the City and the debris will be removed at their expense if no action is taken.
“Thank you in advance for your cooperation with this issue. Questions may be directed to the Department of Public Works.”
Ogdensburg Council Dan Skamperle said he received several phone calls after the notice went out and asked if in the future the language could be softened as he believed it was a bit abrasive.
Two city residents spoke at the meeting complaining about the notices. Both said the city has failed to maintain several of its own vacant lots, and should not be ticketing residents until their own properties are brought up to code.
To remedy the issue the city will open the landfill for a few hours on Saturdays. Two DPW workers will be there to assist residents.
Council Shawn Shaver asked why two employees were needed. DPW Director Scott Thornhill said two employees are needed for safety reasons. He said people can be hostile when dumping off yard waste, especially if they are told they can’t dump the material they bring because it does not meet the standards.
He said having two employees provides safety as one person can call for help if needed or serve as a witness in case of an incident.
The lack of pickup has also been causing other problems. City Manager Sarah Purdy said some residents are dumping their yard waste on vacant properties to get rid of it. Similarly there have been reports of people dumping yard waste onto neighboring properties.
Purdy said she would like to see such creativity channeled into more positive uses.