JAMESTOWN – A Jamestown resident is speaking out after he says the city’s Board of Public Utilities (BPU) failed to pick up his trash this week because his garbage can lid was not completely shut.
Zachary Davis spoke with WNY News Now, just days after several city residents took to social media to express their displeasure with the BPU refusing to take their garbage because of their lids not completely closed.
In Davis’ case, the can appeared to be open by less than an inch. He explains that the BPU’s failure to collect his trash was “a little ridiculous,” adding that a supervisor in the BPU apologized to Davis for the inconvenience.
“On Tuesday, a supervisor from the customer service called me, apologizing for it, even telling me, quote on quote that she apologized for the dumb decision that they (the BPU are making),” Davis said. “I kind of just talked to her about it, and I told her, ‘It’s a little ridiculous. My trash is not overfilled, it’s all in bags.'”
Freshman City Councilman Andrew Faulkner (Ward VI), who addressed the situation during a City Council meeting Monday evening, says he thinks there’s a misunderstanding.
“The BPU, I guess it’s been a policy for awhile, they haven’t really enforced it too much,” Faulkner said. “One of the things the BPU said is maybe they didn’t do as good of a job getting the message out there that they were going to be enforcing this regulation as strictly as they are.”
Davis says he understands the hard work that the collectors accomplish. However, he explains the organization is letting the citizens of Jamestown down with their lack of garbage collecting and subsequent charging of fees for extra cans or other collecting services.
“I’m more or less disappointed in the BPU. To me, it just feels like a money grab they’re trying to make,” Davis said. “I understand, like I said, if trash cans are way overfull, or anything like that, but coming at every single resident in the city over this. It’s not going to help matters, it makes our city look worse, and honestly it’s not a good way of doing business. I feel if we’re paying our bills, they should hold up their end of the bargain.”
Faulkner furthers that he believes the BPU can find a source of compromise when determining whether or not to enforce their rules.
“I think a kind of middle ground would be, if the trash collection guys can get the can to the truck and have the truck lift it without ever touching or having to lift a bag of garbage, I don’t really see too much of an issue,” Faulkner said. “They’re saying it’s for the safety of the guys. They don’t want them getting cut, or stuck with hypodermic needles or throwing out their backs.”
WNY News Now reached out to the BPU for a statement on the trash collection situation. The organization released the following statement:
“Our garbage container policy includes rules that our customers need to follow, including the regulation that garbage needs to be placed in the container with the lid closed. We are working through the process of educating customers about this issue. These rules are stated on the back of our 2022 recycling schedule and currently are part of our Solid Waste Schedule of Rates.
The main concern is customers who pile bags on top of or beside the container. Customers who have more garbage than fits into the container on a regular basis need to obtain a second container for the fee of $13 a month for a minimum of six months. Customers who have occasional extra garbage (such as after a holiday) may request an extra one-time pick-up of their container for $10. Customers also have the option to take garbage to the County Transfer Station in Falconer.
Putting garbage in a closed container prevents animals and birds from getting into the garbage bags and spreading trash all over the streets. It prevents the spread of pests such as bed bugs. It protects employees from needle sticks and cuts caused by other sharp objects. It also protects the backs of our employees so that they do not suffer long-term injuries.”
Multimedia Journalist Justin Gould contributed to this report.