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Syracuse considers city-issued trash carts to roll out this spring

City of Syracuse

Syracuse residents could see changes to their trash pick up. A proposed program aims to provide better service to residents and create a safer work environment and cleaner city.

The proposed sanitation ordinance would require the use of 95-gallon lidded sanitation carts. Corey Driscoll Dunham, the chief operating officer for the City of Syracuse, said having this standardized container will help reduce litter throughout the city.

"A neighborhood should not look its worst the afternoon after a trash pickup," Dunham said. "But, that's the current state of affairs where we have litter crews following sanitation workers as they finish their work because there is just litter left behind."

The other change states commercial landlords of properties with 4 to 10 rental units would no longer receive subsidized municipal trash pickup. Instead, they would need to work with a private hauler. Several community members spoke out against this proposal at a recent public hearing.

Greg Smith said the privatization of the trash service will not only increase the carbon footprint and traffic noise, but lead to increased costs for tenants.

"One little secret that I have learned in 40 years in the rental business, the tenants pay for everything," Smith said.

Property owner Robert Frank shared concerns about where alternatives like potential dumpsters might go for the 4 to 10 rental units.

"If you tried to put a dumpster on a paved area, you'll displace a couple of cars," Frank said. "Parking is very restrictive. Nobody in the city is going to allow us to add pavement, to add a dumpster. There's no way a dump truck is going to make a turn swinging off of a narrow residential street."

The proposal is set to be voted on by the Common Council at the end of this month. If approved, Phase I of the project would occur between May and June covering 20% of the city.

Dunham said they'll use this phase to troubleshoot issues and concerns — like the potential of stolen trash carts.

"There's no plans in Phase I to charge residents if their cart is stolen," Dunham said. "If we find out it's a widespread problem, then we need to reassess and we'll do that as a community with residents, with the council."

Phase II, covering the remainder of the city, would happen between July and September. A similar recycling program could be implemented next year.

Ava Pukatch joined the WRVO news team in September 2022. She previously reported for WCHL in Chapel Hill, NC and earned a degree in Journalism and Media from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Ava was a Stembler Scholar and a reporter and producer for the award-winning UNC Hussman broadcast Carolina Connection. In her free time, Ava enjoys theatre, coffee and cheering on Tar Heel sports. Find her on Twitter @apukatch.