State Sen. Tony Avella, D-Bayside, is blasting the city’s Sanitation Department for garbage pick-up rule changes that he said were not widely publicized and have resulted in heavy fines for Queens residents.
The department’s current policy stipulates that residential units should not place receptacles on the sidewalk for collection until 5 p.m. the day before the scheduled pick-up.
Between Oct. 1 and April 1, residents should put the receptacles out no earlier than 4 p.m., according to the DOS’s “Summary of Sanitation Rules and Regulations.”
But Avella said he believes the agency’s policy violates the City Administrative Procedure Act, under which proposed rules must be published and the public is given an opportunity to comment on them.
Once the rule is adopted, it is published in the Compilation of Rules and in the City Record.
“DOS ignored all the CAPA requirements in establishing and implementing this de facto rule and the result is an uninformed public who are receiving significant fines for placing their garbage out at times they consider reasonable,” the senator said.
He alleges that the policy was never created as an official rule, opened for public comment or published in the City Record.
In a statement, the Department of Sanitation said the matter was addressed six years ago.
“In 2006, after concerns from residents and property owners, the department and the City Council, which then included state Sen. Avella, agreed to change the long-standing time from 8 p.m. to 5 p.m. when residents can place their trash receptacles out for collection, and no earlier than 4 p.m. from Oct. 1 and April 1,” the DOS statement read. “It was also agreed that the department would amend its Digest of Codes to reflect this change, which has been beneficial to the public by preventing waste from being stored at curbside.”
The Council’s Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management included this change in an April 10, 2006 report, according to the DOS statement.
Avella said his office has received calls from a number of northeast Queens residents who have received $100 fines for placing their garbage cans out in the afternoon the day before collection.
The senator wants the city to make exceptions for disabled and elderly residents as well as create separate times for commercial and residential receptacles to be placed on the curb.