New York City to Restore Some Garbage-Collection Services
By Katie Honan
New York City will restore some trash-collecting services that
were cut earlier this summer, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, after
complaints about cleanliness and a recent letter from business
leaders urging him to improve what they see as deteriorating
The mayor said on Tuesday that he would reallocate some funding
to the city's Department of Sanitation and other agencies to cover
the restored services. The cuts to the department were part of a
belt-tightening budget and made in response to a financial crisis
brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia said last week that she
was resigning, in part, because of cuts.
The reallocated funding brings back litter-basket pickups in 27
neighborhoods that were hit the hardest by Covid-19, Mr. de Blasio
said. It also restores a cleanup program focused on commercial
corridors which hires members of the nonprofit Doe Fund.
"New Yorkers deserve clean, safe communities and with this
announcement today we are continuing to deliver on that promise,"
Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, said.
Litter-basket cleanup was decreased 63% in the budget the mayor
and the New York City Council approved on June 30, according to a
sanitation department spokesman. The new initiative restores 24% of
what was cut, which is still a reduction to services before the
New York City faces a $9 billion budget deficit and has made
cuts at nearly every city agency.
Ms. Garcia criticized the slashing of essential services like
garbage pickup, saying it will only further the idea of the city's
decline. In an interview last week, she said the dirty streets
threatened the city's economic recovery.
"I'm concerned for the city, concerned with what they're asking
for from the department," she said.
In a letter sent to Mr. de Blasio last week, 163 business
leaders warned of the city's deteriorating conditions and a growing
concern about public safety as crime has surged this summer. They
asked Mr. de Blasio to restore services that would improve the
quality of life in the city.
Mr. de Blasio said Tuesday that the city would also partner with
community groups, elected officials and the private sector to
sponsor neighborhood cleanups and mobilize volunteers to collect
Businesses can already join the "Adopt-a-Basket" program, where
they help with replacing sanitation department-provided trash bags.
The sanitation department also supplies brooms, shovels and other
tools for community cleanups.
Judy Baron, of the Manhattan Beach Community Group in southern
Brooklyn, organized a cleanup at a local park earlier this month,
where garbage bins overflowed from less frequent pickup.
"When you take away from the budget, you take away from the
people," she said. "We think it's important for the community to
Write to Katie Honan at Katie.Honan@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
September 15, 2020 19:48 ET (23:48 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.