March 1, By Michael Florio
In the past year, the Department of Sanitation has come under a great deal of fire in Astoria for failing to empty the neighborhood’s trash cans in a timely fashion.
On Wednesday, councilman Costa Constantinides took a step to help remedy that by introducing a bill (Int. 0052-2014) calling on the Department of Sanitation to empty public trash cans on a daily basis.
In Astoria, the department currently empties the trash cans six days per week (Monday through Saturday)—although it used to empty them twice per day until city budget cuts reduced the service in the 1990s.
Constantinides, who became this district’s councilman in January, said that he introduced the bill since trash is a big concern to residents. “Throughout my campaign, residents and business owners said they wanted the streets cleaned.”
He believes that he will get support of his council colleagues and is hopeful the bill will be passed.
Along with this bill, Constantinides aims to clean Astoria’s streets by using city funds to hire cleaners through the Doe Fund. The DOE Fund hires formerly homeless men and women to sweep the sidewalks, empty garbage and pick up trash in designated areas.
Constantinides plans to use the DOE Fund to clean large sections of Ditmars Blvd, 31st Ave, 30th Ave (btw. 29th and 41st street), Broadway (btw. Crescent and Steinway Street), if funding allows.
The program has proved to be successful in neighboring areas– such as Long Island City and Woodside– he said.
Constantinides also said he is co-sponsoring a bill with Karen Koslowitz that would increase the fine for multiple offenders of illegal dumping.
Currently the fine is $100 per offense, he said, but he supports Koslowitz’s bill that would increase the amount for each successive dumping violation.
“I’ve heard from residents time and again about the depth of their frustration over how dirty our streets have become,” Constantinides said.