The Amsterdam Common Council passed an ordinance during their last meeting, revising the City Code Chapter 201 – Solid Waste. This controversial revision introduced by Mayor Ann Thane makes the property owner financially liable for bulk items and special refuse left on their sidewalks and collected by City workers.
1. By placing a bulk or specialty item curbside, the property owner consents to the collection of an item by the City of Amsterdam and agrees to the associated charge of collection.
2. A tenant or resident of the subject property is deemed to have authority to place bulk or specialty items curbside as the agent of the property owner.
3. Upon collection of a bulk or specialty item a bill will be sent addressed to the individual requesting the collection or if no individual made such a request then to the “resident” of the subject property, if the same is not paid within 30days, a bill will be sent to the owner of record of the subject property, if this is not paid within 30 days then the charge shall be a lien on the subject property and collected as specified in section 201-8.
Aside from being the longest run-on sentence in history, #3 refers to a requested collection that is not addressed in any other part of the ordinance. There are many ambiguities in this ordinance which make it hard to both read, interpret and I imagine to enforce. There is supposed to be a list of fees for disposal of these bulk and specialty items published in the local paper according to the ordinance.
Bulk items are identified as large household furniture and appliances, such as mattresses, chairs, refrigerators, stoves weighing more than 30 pounds, motor vehicle tires and large tree trimmings, properly bundled and capable of being lifted by two people, except recyclables.
Special refuse is listed as items that are required to be separated from the waste system and are subject to additional collection charges, such as tires and certain electronic items. A list of such items shall be promulgated by the Department of Public Works, from time to time.
The full text of the Solid Waste Ordinance including the revisions can be found here:
What is to keep an unscrupulous neighbor from dumping on your property? There is a change in the ordinance that makes it unlawful, the problem again is enforcement. Although the ordinance changes enforcement officials to include all housing inspectors, building inspectors, code enforcement officials, any police officer and the sanitation foreman, they haven’t been enforcing our existing codes. This ordinance encourages unorchestrated dumping as there are no schedules or time tables presented. Renters can feel free to dump knowing they will not be held liable. Let’s face the facts here, the economy is bad and we already pay high taxes and garbage collection fees. Bulk and special refuse items should be included in those fees. Every other place I have lived, including the Town of Amsterdam, provides a scheduled Spring pick up of these items at no additional charge. If City officials want to regain a modicum of respect from residents, they should follow suit.
Our City Officials need to realize that they cannot continue to enact legislation without a solid plan for implementation and enforcement. This revised ordinance makes a bad situation worse and should be totally rewritten in a concise and uncomplicated manner.
The Common Council approved this revision without any public input. As if it was an afterthought, a public meeting is scheduled for March 1, 2011 at 7:10pm. Show up at this meeting and voice your disapproval. Phone or email your Alderman and tell them to TRASH THE REVISION TO THE SOLID WASTE ORDINANCE!
Mayor Ann Thane (518) 841-4311 firstname.lastname@example.org
1st Ward Alderman Joseph M. Isabel (518) 684-6260 email@example.com
2nd Ward Alderman Julie Pierce (518) 842-4851 firstname.lastname@example.org
3rd Ward Alderman Gina DeRossi (518) 842-5697 email@example.com
4th Ward Alderman William D Wills (518) 843-4660 firstname.lastname@example.org
5th Ward Alderman Richard Leggiero (518) 843-0808 email@example.com
If you are not sure of what Ward you live in, here is a Ward map.
Please voice your disapproval of this revision to the Solid Waste Ordinance before a couch land on your sidewalk!