The new trash ordinance has experienced quite a few growing pains this month, but Health Agent Nick Catinazzo said he thinks that with time the kinks will get worked out.
“We’ve written a tremendous amount of fines,” Catinazzo said. “To be honest, it’s not really easy to enforce. The rodent-free bags are not marked well enough, and we’ve given out some fines mistakenly to people who had the bags. We talked with the manufacturer and they have indicated that they will start adding better markings and a green drawstring on their next run.
“Overall, a lot of people were non-compliant,” he continued. “We went back to some neighborhoods that were 100 percent non-compliant the first week and saw that it was about 50 percent non-compliant the second time. So, it is getting better with time.”
He said that by the end of last week, they had written $9,000 in tickets, the majority of them for people putting out improper bags (not rodent-proof) on the curb.
Catinazzo said he hopes that the trash contractor might adopt a policy of not picking up bags that are non-compliant, leaving them on the curb. He said that would help them to enforce the ordinance more accurately and easily.
One of the issues that have boiled over into a showdown has been the Revere Housing Authority’s (RHA) compliance with the new ordinance.
RHA Director Linda Shaw told the Journal last week that she considered it an “unfunded mandate,” and that the RHA was working on coming into compliance, though it was an expensive proposition.
Catinazzo told the Journal that the RHA is actually a big problem for trash issues, and said that folks on Sargent Street are experiencing problems because of the RHA trash.
“To be honest, most of the bad trash problems we have are with Revere Housing, their property,” said Catinazzo. “The City picks up their trash and they have to comply…The people on Sargent Street never had rodents. It is because of the Housing Authority. If you drive through the Housing Authority, you will see trash. If the taxpayers of the City aren’t complying and we have to fine them, then we have to do the same for the Housing Authority.”
Those frustrations amongst all parties played out at the City Council meeting on Monday when Shaw and the RHA Board appeared before the Council, along with Catinazzo.
For the most part, things were cordial, but Shaw and Councillor Tony Zambuto did have a little spat, though they ended on good terms.
“This was put into place to deal with our rodent problem,” Zambuto said. “That’s why I took offense to comments calling this an ‘unfunded mandate.’”
Quipped Shaw, “I took offense to what took place at the Council without being invited to participate in the discussion.”
“Comments about unfunded mandates are offensive to me and the taxpayers,” continued Zambuto. “We don’t need to go down the road of all the City does for the Authority.”
In the end, they agreed to move on in a positive direction and not make any more offensive comments in the paper.
“I’ll agree to that with one caveat, that you promise to pick up the phone and say, ‘Linda, let’s talk,’ then ok.”
Catinazzo said he is confident that the ordinance can work itself out and that everyone will eventually comply.
The measure passed the Council last summer and went into effect on Jan. 1st.