Utica DPW workers are hitting the roads hard to pick up all the green waste within the city. Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri explains why they’re a little behind schedule this year.
"As you know we had a major windstorm not that long ago, and prior to that you had a major snow storm which brought down a variety of trees, limbs, and so-forth that we’re out there taking care of, so we’re going through these routes, but unfortunately going through these routes is taking more time than really needs to be because we’re picking up the damages of all the wind storms and snow storms."
There have been complaints coming in from around the city, but South Utica residents Rich Riley and John Durney seem to be very understanding.
"They’re kind of up against it this time of year because they got not just leaves, they got big branches and they got some pretty good sized stuff," said Rich Riley. "As you can see, up the road here we got a little bit more than a lot of people have, so all and all they’ve been doing a good job I think."
"I don’t have any complaints, really," said John Durney. "I think for the amount of help they have now days, you know the city does the best that they can."
Utica DPW Commissioner Dave Short says they’re doing the best they can to clean up all the green waste, but also says there are limitations to what they’ll pick up.
"You can put out five containers of green waste, or five bundles of green waste, okay, or you could take it to Solid Waste, because you’re a resident it’s free," Short said.
Short says the city is done with spring clean-up for this year, and if you don’t follow the rules for putting out green waste from here on out, you will be fined. Picking up a few big branches here and there might not seem like a big deal, but doing it city-wide adds up to big money.
"It’s about around $75,000 to $85,000, I believe. That’s just the tipping fees. We’re not talking about manpower, sometimes there’s overtime for that manpower to get through the routes," Short said. "That’s diesel fuel, wear and tear on the equipment, buying new equipment. It’s a lot of money. When you add it all up it costs a lot of money to do green waste."
The city of Utica is getting tough on green waste pick up rules and the mayor says there’s a good reason why.
"That’s simply to help with the flooding that we have," Palmieri said. "The first thing that happens is: our catch basins become clogged, it creates flooding, and it’s an overall problem."
Green waste that’s put to the curb is required to weigh 50 pounds or less.