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Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Massena considers changes to spring cleanup program

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MASSENA - Growing abuse of the town’s spring cleanup program is prompting officials to consider altering it.

Highway Superintendent Frank Diagostino said crews collected 74 tons of trash across the town over a nine-day period earlier this spring, an increase from 59 tons last year.

The annual service needs to be revised, Mr. Diagostino said.

“I think there’s lots of room for improvement,” he told town board members at a recent meeting. “Maybe we need to, between now and next year review what we do there ... I think there’s a lot of abuse going on.”

Mr. Diagostino provided board members with pictures of some of the trash collected. Councilman Charles A. Raiti said some of the debris he saw could have gone out in a regular weekly trash pickup.

“It’s to the point where nothing is even boxed or bagged anymore,” Mr. Diagostino said. “They walk out to the side of the road and they dump it. You’re picking up every sneaker, every sock, every Christmas bulb ... It’s out of control.”

But the town still has a responsibility to pick up the garbage once it’s placed at the curb, Mr. Diagostino said.

“You can’t leave it on the road side because that’s where it will stay,” he said.

Supervisor Joseph D. Gray suggested the town stop picking up the trash at residences. Instead, property owners could drop the garbage off during an allotted time at the county transfer station or town barn.

“We can monitor what comes in,” he said.

The town may still pick up garbage for disabled residents who are unable to transport trash to the town barn or transfer station, Mr. Gray said.

“You’re going to have to show a disability of some kind, I think,” Mr. Gray said.

Mr. Raiti suggested the town finalize changes to the program by the time tax bills are mailed in January. That way, property owners could receive notification about the change when they receive their bills.

Councilman John F. Macaulay pointed out the village Department of Public Works deals with similar abuse each year. The village Board of Trustees and the Norfolk Town Council also recently considered changing or ending their annual cleanup programs. Both boards ended up maintaining their programs.

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