A Bay Ridge councilman declared a “war on trash” in his district this week, after allocating nearly $300,000 in discretionary funding to bridge a budget gap spurred by COVID-19.
“I really do believe a clean community is a safe community, and a clean and safe community is the foundation for everything else,” said Councilmember Justin Brannan, who represents Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach and Bensonhurst.
The initiative comes after the city’s sanitation budgets underwent severe cuts to fill holes amid the pandemic — a decision that had an immediate impact on the neighborhoods he represents, Brannan said Tuesday.
“Budget cuts last year were brutal,” he told members of the press outside of his district office. “The city had to fill a $9 to 10 billion budget gap because of COVID and the sanitation cuts were felt overnight.”
Now, as the city continues to recover from the coronavirus, the pol has allocated funds not just to return regular trash service from Before Times, but also to make them more frequent and effective than they were previously.
“I did everything I could to not only restore the cuts but also to double down on investments and garbage pickup in this community,” Brannan said.
With the new funding, the trash receptacles on street corners in his district will be picked up twice a day, six days a week, and a crew from the Association of Community Employment Programs is being contracted for sidewalk sweeping five days a week.
A special cleaning service will also be introduced to the neighborhood, the motorized litter patrol, who pinpoint locations that need immediate cleaning — areas that are not often on the radar of traditional cleaning services.
The second-term councilman said the improved trash services is the first step in showing the rest of the city that his district is back for business, especially by giving storefronts a helping hand in keeping the front of their shops clean.
“That’s what it’s all about, bringing back our communities safe and clean and strong, and that starts with keeping our streets clean,” Brannan said. “I think this is a great signal that we are coming back, we are coming out of this pandemic strong, and we are going to make sure our streets stay clean and that people take pride in their communities.”
Community Board 10’s district manager applauded the councilman’s push for the additional litter patrol as it has been the subject of complaints for years and is much needed in their community.
“Our community is a hardworking community and the addition of cleaning services to help us here maintain clean streets is so important and paramount in the lives of our neighbors and residents,” said Josephine Beckmann.
Sanitation Commissioner Edward Grayson commended both Brannan and Beckmann for being ardent voices for their constituents and for always working together with his department for the betterment of the community.
“It is always a pleasure to deal with people who care, we are dedicated civil servants, we work for you, we want to keep your streets clean every single day,” he said.