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Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York

Massena may change spring cleanup program

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MASSENA -The town may change its spring cleanup program next year.

Until now, highway department staff have picked up refuse curbside during the annual program. Next year, residents may have to drop off their large trash at a county transfer station instead.

Last month, Highway Superintendent Frank Diagostino told town board members of the widespread abuse of the program, held over nine days last spring. Some residents use the large trash pickup day as an opportunity to dump all sorts of garbage on the curbside, he said.

Mr. Diagostino has since studied the program Brasher and Norfolk use at the county transfer station, where highway staff accept large trash over a two- or three-day period from residents. The change could save the town $2,000 in fuel costs, and the shorter time frame would allow highway staff to work on other projects, he said.

Supervisor Joseph D. Gray previously worried about those residents physically unable to bring their garbage to the transfer station. But Mr. Diagostino said those individuals in Brasher and Norfolk have found ways to still take advantage of the program.

“If they want to get it here, they’ll get it here because they know of a neighbor or relative,” he said. “The county would prefer us to do this because it wouldn’t overload their system.”

The town can also turn away items at the station, which may help curb the abuse, Mr. Diagostino said.

“You’re really eliminating the items that aren’t supposed to be here,” he said.

“It’s easier to make a pile by the road,” Mr. Gray added. “It’s harder to take it to the landfill.”

Town board members supported the possible change Wednesday night. Deputy Supervisor Albert N. Nicola said the council may make its final decision during its budget sessions this fall.

“We’ve got to look at different ways of doing things. That’s definitely a different way,” Councilman John F. Macaulay said. “It’s going to be harder for someone to bring in a mountain of stuff.”

Mr. Macaulay said he hoped the village would consider a similar change. The village’s Board of Trustees considered ending their spring cleanup several months ago because of similar abuse, but ultimately chose not to.

“The village needs to do something like that,” Mr. Macaulay said. “The village has got a lot of junk that sits around (during spring cleanup).”

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