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Potsdam looks to clean up downtown streets

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POTSDAM — After a busy weekend, garbage bins along Market Street are filled to the brim, and the streets are littered with pizza boxes and paper cups. It’s time to clean up, said Mayor Steven W. Yurgartis.

“It’s disgusting,” said Margaret J. Maurer, manager of The Isle of You on 17 Market St. “I would say almost every day I go out there and it’s overflowing.”

Casella Resource Solutions, the company responsible for trash pickup, is scheduled to empty the bins twice a week. Some local business owners have complained that this does not happen as often as is scheduled, according to Mr. Yurgartis. Either way, village leaders are considering increasing the frequency of trash pickup.

The bins will be emptied on Monday, instead of Tuesday, to combat the extra trash dumped over the weekend.

New garbage bins with a larger capacity will be purchased to replace the smaller, worn-out bins that are currently installed. The new bins will be in place sometime later this fall.

Meanwhile, the village is trying several other plans.

“We’re sort of in an experimental phase, looking for solutions and trying a few things,” Mr. Yurgartis said.

Even when the bins are empty, there is nobody to pick up trash left on the streets or sidewalk. Some business owners take care of the area in front of their store, but others do not, Mr. Yurgartis said.

Starting Monday, the Department of Public Works will spend a few hours a week picking up litter. This will be done on an experimental basis to see how much time and manpower it will take to get the job done.

The village is considering hiring someone part-time to clean up trash on the streets, in Ives Park and on Fall Island. This would require union approval.

Other plans under consideration include pressure-washing downtown sidewalks and requiring bars to install cigarette butt dispensers outside.

No matter what options are considered, money is always a concern.

“I’m committed to not increasing village expenses, so cleaning up downtown will require redirecting some of our other efforts,” Mr. Yurgartis said.

The village board has been asked to consider reducing the manpower used in brush pickup to redirect toward trash pickup or creating of a payment system for brush pickup (similar to the trash stickers currently used) that would bring in more money for downtown cleanup efforts.

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