Council talks about lids on garbage cans, basketball hoops off streets

At Monday night’s Committee of the Whole meeting, Alderwoman Diane Hatzenbuhler introduced two measures to help make Amsterdam’s streets cleaner and more orderly.

Hatzenbuhler has proposed a local law that would require all residents to place their garbage, bagged or otherwise, inside garbage cans with lids, and store them out of sight when not in use.

According to Hatzenbuhler, “The issue arose because people are putting trash out in plastic bags with no trash can and no lid. My suggestion is to [pass] a local law that [requires] all the garbage has to be in a clear plastic bag, and it has to be in a trash can with a lid on it so the birds can’t come and get to the garbage. Then I was requesting that the trash cans be stored out of site…because right now you drive down the street and you have trash cans lying in the front.”

Alderman Ron Barone pointed out that there are current rules about having garbage cans out, and suggested that citing more offenders could help the problem.

“They are being cited,” said Mayor Ann Thane and added, “I understand Diane’s concern. My only worry about his one is that…you are telling people that they have to buy a trash can. And for some people, they are not going to be able to afford a trash can…I just don’t know if you are going to be able to get compliance.”

“If we had a way to help I could understand…it’s a burden,” said Barone.

“You can buy one cheaply,” said Hatzenbuhler, “a lot of landlords supply them.”

According to Corporation Counsel Gerard DeCusatis, residents can already be cited for leaving out trash that attracts animals, but the city lacks resources to enforce the rule.

DeCusatis suggested looking at a proposal originally discussed in 2011 which contained language  clarifying proper receptacles and storage locations and would also make it easier for the city to remove bulk items left on the sidewalk. If enacted, the Department of Public Works employees could pick up the items and generate a bill for the property owner without having to go through the codes department.

Also discussed was an ordinance to ban movable basketball hoops from city streets. Barone said that he had received complaints from residents and pointed out a spot on Division Street that was problematic.

“Those kids are right in the middle of the road. That’s a two-way lane… I can understand where people get frustrated and they call,” said Barone.

According to the Amsterdam Police Department, it is already against the law for anyone to obstruct traffic. After the meeting, Hatzenbuhler said that even when players move out of the way of traffic, it still creates a nuisance for drivers.

Council members agreed to continue to discuss the two measures.

Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of Anthem Websites Inc. which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.