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Norfolk spring cleanup eliminated due to budgetary issues

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NORFOLK - Norfolk residents will have to find a new way to get rid of excess garbage this spring after town officials recently announced the cancellation of their annual spring cleanup.

The trash collection event will not be held this year to due budgetary issues for the town.

While the town board has talked about the possibility before, this is the first time that the cleanup will actually be cancelled.

“This actually isn’t anything new. It’s been talked about at length for the last couple of years and was a topic at budget discussions,” Town Supervisor Charles A. Pernice said. “In 2013 it cost the taxpayers $8,515.48 to have a spring cleanup and 294 residents took advantage of the service. That resident total is probably wrong as far as number of taxpayers because you were allowed two trips per parcel. So it was probably a smaller number of actual taxpayers using this service.”

In 2012, the board debated the future of the service, which allows residents to bring their trash to the Massena Transfer Station over a three-day period. Norfolk’s highway department is then tasked with sorting through the garbage.

Last spring, the topic was brought up during meetings again.

Mr. Pernice added that with 2,500 parcels of land and approximately 4,500 people in the town, “you can see a very small percentage of our residents were using this, but it was being paid for by all the taxpayers.”

“When approximately $6,600 raises our taxes by 1 percent, you can see that by having cleanup this year, it would have raised our taxes by 1.33 percent or somewhere in that neighborhood,” Mr. Pernice said. “Very few towns do this anymore. Most of them either never did it to begin with or have already gotten out of the clean up business.”

The village of Massena’s spring cleanup will begin on April 28.

“The most painless cuts are the ones that do the least amount of damage and landlords with multiple rental units were our biggest customer. They can easily take care of their tenants needs with a slight increase in their rent if needed,” Mr. Pernice said.

“The bottom line is this - few people used it, many abused it, and it was a headache for our highway personnel who would better serve the residents needs elsewhere on those days. Additionally, nobody can survive many more tax increases in these times. It was a cut that did the least amount of damage to the majority of our taxpayers.”

Norfolk officials had allowed town residents to drop off garbage, used furniture and other debris at the Raymondville park for a few days each spring and then town highway department crews transported the items to the transfer station in Massena.

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