Civic Annoyed By Slow Delivery, DSNY Plan
Mail woes and sanitation gripes highlighted the Juniper Park Civic Association (JPCA) meeting last Thursday, Mar. 27, at Middle Village’s Our Lady of Hope School.
Robert Holden, JPCA president, railed over the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) slow delivery of the organization’s quarterly magazine, The Juniper Berry. He stated the March/April issue was sent to subscribers on Mar. 20, but approximately a week later, many residents claimed their issues had not arrived.
Members experienced similar problems back in December, Holden said, when subscribers received the magazine about nine days after the organization mailed them out.
The all-volunteer publication includes news, commentaries and notices of upcoming meetings. Noting a drop in attendance at last Thursday’s session, Holden reasoned that members who had not received their magazine must not have known about that night’s meeting.
After contacting the USPS for an explanation, the civic president said, representatives informed him the delay was due to a holdover at a Brooklyn processing center.
“Our mail goes from the publishing house to Flushing they used to distribute it there to the local post offices” in the Flushing district, Holden said. “Now our mail goes to Brooklyn for processing, and from there it gets distributed.”
“Sometimes it sits in Brooklyn for more than a week,” he added.
Holden said the JPCA is considering sending out future Juniper Berry issues via second class shipping-a cheaper, but more restrictive, bulk mail alternative.
The civic president charged the organization and residents would not experience such mail problems if the quasi-government agency were operated more like a for-profit business.
“They’re not run like a business; they’re run like a government [agency],” Holden added. “They should run like a business, because they’d make money.”
Venting over garbage
The Sanitation Department’s Haley Rogers came to explain the organics collection pilot program about to launch in parts of Maspeth and Middle Village-but wound up getting an earful from residents frustrated with the agency’s performances and related issues.
Rogers stated the voluntary initiative-in which residents separate food waste, food-stained paper products and yard waste from traditional garbage-will help reduce the city’s waste stream and costs incurred to export garbage. Of the $330 million spent by the city annually to ship out its trash, she claimed, about one-third of the cost is dedicated toward eliminating organic waste.
Further details about the composting program can be found in the article on Page 3.
But while Rogers touted its positive aspects, others in attendance questioned the initiative’s effectiveness and, in general, the Sanitation Department’s operations.
“I think the city should get out of this juvenile mode” of doing business, said Daniel Trembinski. He suggested the Sanitation Department sell its unused incinerators to private companies, which can use modern technology to burn trash and convert it into energy.
“Do mass burning, turn that trash into energy and actually do something productive for people, not waste our money on gimmicks and more things we have to worry about,” he added.
Another resident suggested the Sanitation Department’s recycling program encourages scavengers to trespass onto private property and sift through cans in search for bottles and cans. Rogers stated the Sanitation Department tries to combat this by pursuing beverage distributors who pay the nickel deposit for bottles from the illegal scavengers.
Holden, however, suggested the way to eliminate the scavengers is by rewriting the state bottle bill. Instead of redeeming five-cent deposits, he suggested the deposits be used to hire the collectors as sanitation workers.
“It’s a waste of human energy. That energy could be put to better use by cleaning the street,” he said. “I’m willing to pay that nickel [per bottle or can] to hire these people to go out and clean the streets.”
Scavengers seen on private property should be reported to 911 immediately, Holden added, as trespassing is a crime.
Several residents also bemoaned the fact that participating in the program would mean more trash sorting-and having a fourth waste pail to put on their curb. The city already requires the placement of regular garbage, plastics/metal/glass and paper products in separate receptacles.
Others in attendance publicly railed against a City Council proposal to institute a 10-cent tax on paper and plastic grocery bags used by shoppers. The bill is aimed at encouraging consumers to use tote bags or reusable shopping bags.
Saving money on energy
A few minor changes in homes can mean major savings on utility bills, according to Lee Parker of Franklin Energy, who offered a host of tips on how homeowners can reduce their energy consumption.
Attaching a thermostatic radiator valve onto steam-powered heaters can help control room temperature while also reduce the amount of steam and gas used by boilers, he noted. Affixing aerators to showerheads and faucets can ensure both moderate water flow while also reducing the volume of water used.
Parker added switching from incandescent to CFL (compact fluorescent) or LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs will help reduce both energy consumption and electric bills. Though the CFL or LED bulbs are more costly upfront, they last longer and provide as much light as incandescent bulbs while using less electricity.
Switching light bulbs can save consumers up to $82 per year, while adding aerators can cut water bills by more than $200 annually, Parker added.
Consumers can save further by shopping for power with electric supply providers. Con Edison Solutions, a division of the utility company which maintains the city’s electric infrastructure, is the default supply provider for most New York City residents, charging on average about 15 cents or more per kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity used per month.
Parker said consumers can seek other power supply providers serving New York City to see if a better deal is available. However, he cautioned residents to avoid joining any provider that may attempt to pressure clients into making long-term commitments.
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The next Juniper Park Civic Association meeting is scheduled to take place on Thursday, Apr. 24, at 7:45 p.m. at Our Lady of Hope School, located at Eliot Avenue and 71st Street in Middle Village. For information, call 1-718-651-5865 or visit www.junipercivic.com.