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Apr 8, 2015 12:34 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Flanders Residents Band Together Against Garbage District

Apr 13, 2015 10:57 AM

A proposal for a garbage district in Flanders, Riverside and Northampton was vetted and endorsed by the local community group, even as some residents of the three hamlets remain opposed to the idea and have gathered more than 100 signatures on a petition to stop Southampton Town from bringing it to a vote later this year.

“The way it was done, I think, was very poor,” said Susan Tocci, a Flanders resident who helped start the petition against the district and is an active member of the “Flanders Homeowners Against Town Garbage Pickup” Facebook group. “It was not a vote of the community … The whole thing is monopolized, and [the carter] could keep increasing, increasing [the price]. What happens after a year?”

The town received eight bids for a one-year contract to collect trash in the district, which would bring curbside pickup to about 2,100 homes in the three hamlets and include two household trash pickups per week, as well as one recyclables pickup and one bulk trash pickup each week. Additionally, there would be about 10 days per year set aside for yard waste pickup as well.

The bids that were opened last month ranged from a low of $24.47 per month to a high of $60 per month. Three of the bidders said prices would vary and did not provide an exact price. No bid has yet been chosen by the town.

Rather than charge residents a separate monthly fee for the service, the town would collect it through property tax bills.

About 130 people have joined the “Flanders Homeowners Against Town Garbage Pickup” Facebook group, which aims to bring homeowners together in order to express concerns and questions about the district.

Ms. Tocci said she has used a local company, Go Green Sanitation, for the past few years and likes the fact that she’s in control of her carting bill, since Go Green charges by the pail.

“You’re going to put local people out of business—and for what?” she said, explaining that Frank Fisher, a friend of hers and the owner of Go Green, is a lifelong Flanders resident.

Mr. Fisher, who chose not to submit a bid, said he was frustrated with the proposal because it would equally tax seasonal residents and homes, regardless of how many people live there. “I didn’t bid, because I don’t think it’s necessary and I believe in free enterprise,” he said. “This is going to raise taxes for no reason.

“I think we should keep it the way it is,” he continued. “There are a lot of options. If their biggest problem is people dumping, maybe they should open the dump [to bulk items] one weekend a month.”

Mr. Fisher and Ms. Tocci also say they are concerned about those in the district who cannot take their trash to the curb and have private carters pick up the trash from their stoop. “I’m going to get old, and I’m not going to be able to drag my garbage to the end of the street,” Ms. Tocci said. “We have to take care of this community.”

Town Councilman Brad Bender said the bid package did not include special requirements for pickup, but he did say that residents who are disabled or cannot bring their trash to the curb will be able to work something out with the carting company.

The bid package also specified that all “paved roads” would be part of the district—a stipulation that left residents, including Mr. Fisher and Ms. Tocci, to presume that homeowners on unpaved private roads would have to pay the tax but would not receive services.

“It was a flaw in the bid package,” Mr. Bender said, “one that we will have to clarify before we go to contract. Private roads are included in the garbage district.”

When the district was pitched to the town, and to the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association, which signed off on it, many believed it would help resolve problems with illegal garbage dumping in the three hamlets. But Mr. Fisher and Ms. Tocci said they don’t believe a garbage district will fix the problem.

“Anything over the [two-pail] limit will be left behind,” Mr. Fisher said, explaining that the carter will pick up only a certain amount of trash at a time. “You’re going to create a bigger mess.”

Once a bid is accepted, homeowners from the three hamlets will be asked to vote on a special proposition either during November’s general election or in special balloting.

“This isn’t something we sprung on everyone overnight,” Mr. Bender said. “This has been an ongoing process. Unfortunately, these are the people who haven’t chosen to participate in the community, up until now.”

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This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By politcal pawn (121), Flanders on Apr 12, 15 8:25 AM
2 members liked this comment
Political Pawn,

Yes, I had some growing pains when I started my business which any business owner has had and knows all too well the hurdles of a new start up. However, none of those growing pains consisted of any illegal dumping anywhere, let alone on any fire district property. I'd advise you at least get your facts straight before you go off on your uneducated rant of opinions. My name isn't hidden, come out from the shadows and put your money where your mouth is. And as far as ...more
By Frank Fisher (1), Flanders on Apr 13, 15 10:19 AM
1 member liked this comment
This is Brad Benders big idea to fix the Flanders, Northampton area? Obviously Brad Bender has no idea how to make a community out of the area. The best part of Benders plan is he will hurt a local guy with a start up garbage company. Good work
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Apr 13, 15 2:38 PM
Riverhead town has town garbage pickup. I know many of people that are happy with the service. They have two pick days and I think one recycling day per week. Then on one of the two days the truck picks up almost anything you put out there. Couches, TVs, Mattresses etc. It works out to be cheaper in your taxes then you would pay for twice a week pickup. The obvious side of it is you do hurt local business owners who are trying to make a living.
By unjustifiedjustice2 (35), Hampton bays on Apr 13, 15 4:10 PM