Written by Michael Scro Friday, 20 July 2012 00:00
DeJana Executive Vice President Bill Wynperle explained that he came down with the flu in June and while he notified his assistant to inform the board, his assistant was out sick as well. Joined by Director of Business Development for DeJana John Mangano, they heard the boards concerns, which have started to affect Mayor of East Williston David Tanner directly.
“There was some resistance with our motion to renew your new (three year) contract from our residents,” said Mayor Tanner to the DeJana representatives. Their contract was established at $345,000 for fiscal year 2012-13, and contains two annual renewal options at 2 percent.
Tanner explained that his garbage was not picked up the week of July 2, and summarized the complaints from residents which revolved around the same issue. “It seems like in the last year or two, there has been a sharp but sporadic decline in your services,” said Trustee Bonnie Parente.
“We need to investigate, sometimes we find out after we receive a complaint that the garbage was put out after our guy arrived, and we can prove that because we have GPS,” said Wynperle. “I can’t give any answers tonight about specific complaints, there could be a variety of reasons for them and to be fair, they each need to be investigated.”
Fire Department Chief Patrick Theodore joined in by saying that while most of the time DeJana’s service is very good, at times the garbage on his street is not picked up, as well as the other side of his street.
“We do cross train individuals, and people are sick from time to time, and take vacations. Most of the time you have the exact same people picking up the garbage, but it could be on that particular day that something like that happened,” answered Wynperle.
An East Williston resident in attendance brought up how his garbage wasn’t picked up on Friday, July 6 on High Street.
“It’s not a common problem, however it happened to be one where it wasn’t picked up Wednesday (being July 4), then Friday, so I’ve gone a whole week with garbage in the driveway,” said the resident. Mayor Tanner continued the resident’s notion that “something seems to be off,” and Trustee Caroline Debeneditis said: “Many residents won’t call you if there is a problem, they’ll call us. You’ll pick the garbage up for weeks on end, and then one day will go by where its not picked up, and they have no idea why.”
Wynperle stated the idea that each issue needs to be investigated, however suggested that in some cases, the issue may be with the resident rather than with DeJana. “It’s not always clear-cut, they have to be investigated and you (the board and residents of East Williston) are entitled to that,” he said.
Upon the request of the board, Wynperle agreed to provide a list of written responses to complaints filed by residents in the past 18 months, as well as the prior 18 month period.
Wynperle and Mangano were also asked about the confusion surrounding the use of black bags and clear bags for grass clippings. “If your grass clippings are in black bags, we can’t pick them up, and that may be one of the answers you’ll receive following an investigation of your complaint,” said Wynperle. “They have to be either an open garbage pail, or in a clear bag. We can’t tear open everyone’s black bags to make sure there are compulsory items (grass clippings) in them.”
East Williston Village Attorney Jeffrey Blinkoff explained his prior understanding that either a clear bag or “some sort of marker on a solid color bag” would be fine for grass clippings. Wynperle replied that provided the village inform DeJana on what markers will be placed on solid colored bags that contain grass clippings, that will be acceptable.
“For the longest time, the trash was picked up and didn’t necessarily get separated at the time. The Town of North Hempstead has become much more conscious of the need to not have everything end up in a landfill,” explained Wynperle. “Recyclables and compulsory items have to be separated. It’s now necessary to have compulsory packages, and with clear bags, we can see that there are compulsory materials in there before we accept it and put it in the compulsory pile.”
Wynperle praised Tanner and the rest of the board for having one of the most aggressive programs in the areas they service, picking up compulsory items three times a week.
Mangano addressed the board toward the end of the discussion, and urged all residents who come across issues with their services to call 516-944-3103.
“If any resident calls that number and there is in fact a problem, we’ll try to rectify it then and there. We take this very seriously and want to know about the problem as soon as possible,” said Mangano.
Trustee Robert Vella Jr. spoke about how he and Village Attorney Blinkoff attended a June 18 public hearing by the Williston Park Village Board with respect to water rates. “There was a proposal in their village to set the water rates at a certain level, they came with a report that many of their residents didn’t even know existed, including us,” explained Vella.
Vella asked the board to hold the decision in abeyance, which was granted. “This was so we as a village could fashion a response and tell our village’s side of the story,” said Vella. Currently the water rate is $3.83 per 1,000 gallons, and the proposal would increase the wholesale rate charged by Williston Park to $4.41 per 1,000 gallons (15 percent increase). “Negotiations are ongoing, we’re trying,” said Vella.
Village Trustee Christopher Siciliano held up one of 13 stop signs in the village that had been recently vandalized. Sprayed in a stencil fashion “in the name of love” under the ‘Stop’ portion of the sign, Siciliano explained that it costs the village $48.50 per sign.
“I ask any resident that if you see anyone doing something like this, please report it to the police,” he said. A similar vandalism incident happened in Mineola according to Siciliano, and it will cost the Village $35 per sign to repair (a $455 total).
Mayor Tanner announced that the board will hold public hearings on Aug. 13 to consider three local laws. The first would ‘modify the fine structure to be imposed for parking violations within the Village.’ This would also include a penalty for those with parking violations who do not attend appear at Village Court.
The second local law would “provide for the imposition of warnings and penalties upon owners, occupants and tenants of residential properties for false alarms for fire, carbon monoxide alarms, etc.” Chief Theodore also spoke in reference to false alarms, stating that the fire department has been called to multiple false alarms, some of which are repeated from the same address.
One particular address called in an excessive number of false alarms, to the point that fire department members stopped answering them.
“They would see this address again and again, and it got to a point where they weren’t getting out of bed. God forbid it is a legitimate emergency, we are just trying to ensure the safety of our residents and our members too,” said Theodore.
The third law proposed would modify the size of signage in East Williston, which will require a specific size lettering to be used in conjunction with posted signs prohibiting trespassing on village property.