No can do.
Mayor DeBlasio’s executive budget doesn’t give Bensonhurst garbage collection the boost local leaders wanted. Requests for more garbage collection and sanitation enforcement topped Community Board 11’s district needs statement — a list of requests it compiles ahead of budget season each year — but the mayor’s proposal released last week doesn’t add a dime to the sanitation department’s budget in the district.
As the area’s population surges, the city needs to allocate more money to keeping Bensonhurst’s streets clean, a community leader said.
“In Bensonhurst, we’ve seen a jump in the amount of people living here, and with additional people comes an additional need for services,” said CB11 district manager Marnee Elias-Pavia.
The district’s population grew by 9,000 between 2000 and 2010 — mostly in Bensonhurst — and it continues to climb, according to city data. But the city has cut $570,287 from the district’s sanitation budget since 2012, budget documents show.
The mayor’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2016 proposes a $9,526,378 operating budget funding 137 employees in Brooklyn Sanitation District 11, which is coterminous with the boundaries of CB11.
The budget proposal cuts funding for sanitation operations in six of Brooklyn’s 18 community boards, maintains funding for 11 others, and bumps up the trash-collection budget for one community board.
Bensonhurst residents and business owners have long complained that 18th Avenue and 86th Street look more like dumps than commercial corridors, saying there aren’t enough sanitation enforcement officers to stop lazy neighbors from leaving household trash in litter baskets and on sidewalks. The department tried to deter people from dumping domestic detritus in public baskets by pulling many of the cans from the sidewalks in 2011. Locals called the idea rubbish, and said the illegal dumping continues.
Of course, the preponderance of junk can have its upside too — one Bensonhurster found an Emmy Award in his neighbor’s trash two years ago.
The district’s need for more collection and enforcement is palpable, according to the neighborhood needs statement, which give top priority to pleas for more frequent trash pick-up and street cleaning, and increased litter patrols and sanitation enforcement.
In written responses to the petition, the Department of Sanitation said it would try to accommodate the requests within its existing budget. But with no increase in funding, the department is not expecting any changes to service in the district, a department spokeswoman said.
Now folks are turning to local pols for refuge from the refuse.
“The mayor’s expense budget is a starting point, and they negotiate with council, so hopefully we’ll see increases to that,” Elias-Pavia said. “Any additional resources are welcomed here, and we appreciate the support of our council members for providing those services.”
Councilmen Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island) and Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge), who both represent portions of Bensonhurst, used money from a council-funded initiative to bankroll additional garbage collection and to hire outside workers to clean Bensonhurst’s streets last year.
Both councilmen plan to expand the program this year, according to their spokesmen.
“This is a major quality of life issue that we take very seriously,” Treyger said.
The Council has until June 5 to tweak the budget and vote on its adoption.