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Sanitation 101 In Midville

Civic Gets Lesson On Trash Rules

Residents received a crash course on Sanitation Department (DSNY) rules and how to avoid receiving summonses for improper garbage disposal during the Middle Village Property Owners/Residents Association (MVPORA) meeting last Monday night, Jan. 9, at St. Margaret’s Parish Hall.

Capt. Michael Cody (second from right) and P.O. Tony Jiminez (at right) of the 104th Precinct updated residents on crime during the Middle Village Property Owners/Residents Association meeting last Monday, Jan. 9, at St. Margaret’s Parish Hall. Al Gentile, MVPORA treasurer who presided over the meeting in place of President Salvatore Candela, is shown standing at left, looking on.

Paul Kerzner, chairperson of Community Board 5’s Sanitation Committee, and Patricia Grayson, a retired DSNY employee, informed attendees about the various infractions such as improperly stored trash or snow removal that can lead to costly fines.

“We are not here in favor of or against the Sanitation Department,” Grayson said at the start of the presentation.

“Sanitation is a huge issue, and it’s coming to the fore as the city needs more finances. If there is a summons to be written, you should know about it.”

Sanitation experts Paul Kerzner (standing) and Patricia Grayson (seated to the right of Kerzner) provided a course on Sanitation Department rules to residents at last Monday’s Middle Village Property Owners/Residents Association meeting.

Kerzner and Grayson distributed to residents copies of the 2009 Sanitation Department digest of regulations, which is also available to be downloaded online at www.nyc.gov/ sanitation. The digest explains the laws enforced by the agency as well as the kinds of penalties offenders face for breaking the law.

Beginning with the issue of dog waste and walking on public streets, Kerzner informed residents that the Sanitation Department mandates that no leash be longer than six feet in length; those walking their canine on a longer leash-or on no leash at all-can be hit with a summons of between $200 and $400.

Dog owners who fail to clean up after their canine defecates on a public sidewalk face a fine of $250, but Grayson cautioned that the Sanitation Department’s enforcement officers can only issue a summons if they observe the violation being made. The officers cannot write a ticket based on a report of a past defecation incident reported by a neighbor.

Since the law is difficult to enforce, Kerzner suggested that residents who know of locations where dog walkers allow their canines to defecate and leave the mess behind to “figure out a pattern” the times when the offenses occur, then report them to the Sanitation Department via the city’s 311 hotline.

“They (enforcement agents) will stake the place out and they will get them and issue a $100 fine,” Kerzner said. “If you get one or two people, the word gets around and I guarantee you that quadrant of Middle Village” will be free of dog waste over time.

Regarding trash receptacles, Kerzner noted that trash bins which are left on the curb for collection must be covered at all times. Firsttime violators of this regulation will be hit with a $100 summons, and that fine will increase to $300 on the third offense and every other violation thereafter.

Several residents cried foul about the rule, charging that DSNY workers themselves often remove the lids or damage them during pickups. Nevertheless, Kerzner suggested that residents would be better served replacing the cover at minimal expense rather than be hit with hundreds of dollars in fines.

One resident also noted that individuals who collect recyclable items often remove the lids from canisters and a mess while sorting through bags; in the end, he charged, the homeowner winds up being hit with a violation.

“They come down here from sundown to sunup,” the resident said of the individual collectors. “They never get summonsed.”

Residents must also be careful to use the proper types of garbage bags to store refuse and recyclable materials for collection. Grayson explained that regular garbage should be placed in either black, brown or green bags, while recyclable paper, plastic and aluminum should be stored in clear bags.

Containers used to store recyclable materials must also be clearly marked on both sides with large labels provided by the Sanitation Department, Grayson added.

Garbage and recycling cans may only be placed on the curb after 4 p.m. (5 p.m. during the spring and summer months) on the day before the appointed collection date, Kerzner said. Before and after collec- tion, the cans must be placed either inside a residence or in the rear of the property; those who fail to obey this regulation can face a $100 fine.

After a snowstorm hits, homeowners are responsible for clearing the sidewalk in front of their homes within four hours after the last flake has fallen or by 11 a.m. if the storm ended overnight.

“If you have a 6′-wide sidewalk, you need to clear” that width, Grayson said. She further reminded residents not to throw their snow into the street, as it creates not only a hazardous situation for drivers but also places more snow for Sanitation trucks to plow, thereby blocking neighboring parked cars in.

One resident complained about early morning trash pickups which have interrupted his sleep. Kerzner noted that the Sanitation Department changed the hours of cleanup for the winter to ensure that it has staff around-the-clock to operate snow plows and salt spreaders in the event of a snowstorm.

Finally, Grayson noted that no one should throw their household waste in public trash baskets placed on the corners of local shopping strips. The Sanitation Department can issue a $100 fine to violators.

“There’s nothing worse than a dirty street,” she said. “Nobody should walk in the dirt and we should be careful that we don’t walk into” a dirty situation.

Crowley on M.V. infrastructure

While improvements are made to a Middle Village public school, City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley told residents that she would campaign for the city to launch a longawaited- and long delayed-project to rehabilitate streets in the southern section of the neighborhood.

“As we move into 2012, we will be focus on southern Middle Village,” she said, noting that the Department of Education is about to embark on the construction of an expansion for P.S./I.S. 87. She stated that the project would provide the school with a new gymnasium and other much-needed facilities. Construction is expected to begin in the summer.

Crowley also stated that she would press the city’s Department of Transportation to move forward on a $30 million project to renovate sewers and streets in the area of Middle Village south of Metropolitan Avenue, north of Cooper Avenue, west of 80th Street and east of 73rd Place.

“It’s something that the community has tried to get done for 10 years,” she said. As previously reported, Community Board 5 had asked Crowley to urge the DOT to expedite the project, citing that the area’s infrastructure has long been neglected and is now in great need of repair.

The project was initially put forth by Board 5 during the 1990s but has been delayed for years by the city due to, among other reasons, budgetary problems. It is now projected to begin in 2020.

Crowley also noted that numerous roadways in other parts of Middle Village were recently resurfaced by the DOT. Additionally, the city has begun work on the reconstruction of the Cooper Avenue underpass, which is expected to continue through 2013.

In the year ahead, the Council member noted that she would focus on a resolution calling for increased access to health care for women in the face of a decline in the number of obstetricians and gynecologists citywide. She also noted that she is working to outlaw illegal hails by commuter vans traveling through parts of the area.

Fighting crime and nuisances

The 104th Precinct finished 2011 down for the year in overall major crime, the force’s commanding officer informed residents.

Capt. Michael Cody noted that the command catalogued 1,721 major crimes (murder, rape, burglary, robbery, felony assault, grand larceny and auto theft) last year, a 1.5 percent decrease from the number tallied 2010..

Felony assaults increased during the year, but the captain explained that the spike was the result of law changes which elevated former misdemeanor assault charges. Even though the precinct finished 2011 with a 26 percent increase in felony assaults, the command closed many of those cases by making 248 arrests.

Grand larcenies were also up by 26 percent in 2011, but Cody noted that the precinct has “tightened up procedures” and increased patrols to help combat thefts. He added that with one shooting and two homicides reported in 2011, the 104th Precinct ranked near the bottom of all precincts across the city in murders.

“We’re at the bottom of those lists, and that’s where we want to be,” the captain said.

Responding to complaints previously lodged by residents about commercial vehicles parked overnight around the area, Cody noted that the precinct increased enforcement and has issued over 700 summonses for those offenses since October. The command’s executive officers are also examining and following up on complaints made with 311 regarding quality-of-life problems experienced by residents such as noise.

Following a deadly accident on the Long Island Expressway in Maspeth on New Year’s Day, Cody stated that the 104th Precinct conducted a DWI operation during the weekend of Jan. 7-8. In all, five drivers were arrested on DWI charges and their vehicles were seized.

Several attendees asked the commanding officer to crack down on passing vehicles with blaring sound systems and individuals recklessly riding their skateboards on local streets. Cody stated that he would instruct officers to take action.

Augie Trinchese, MVPORA corresponding secretary, offered kudos to the captain for being responsive to the issues raised by residents of the community: “There’s a marked change at the 104th Precinct since he arrived. If you send him an e-mail, it’s taken care of immediately. We owe this man a debt of gratitude.”

Other news

Trinchese noted that the civic group received requests for donations from the Middle Village Volunteer Ambulance Corps and the Queens Botanical Gardens. Al Gentile, the MVPORA treasurer who presided over the meeting in place of President Salvatore Candela, noted that he would discuss the matter with Candela before the next meeting.

The next Middle Village Property Owners/Residents Association meeting is scheduled to take place on Monday night, Feb. 13, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Margaret’s Parish Hall, located on 79th Place south of Juniper Valley Road.

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