“There are overflowing trash bins on multiple corners of this neighborhood,” said Astoria Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas. “It’s really an unacceptable situation.”
In addition to receiving complaints over the phone from constituents, Simotas said that she has been inundated with photos of garbage in the streets through the social media website Twitter.
“I would like to introduce a bill in the State Assembly to curtail this problem,” she said. “I would like to offer business and tax incentives to business who want to partner with neighborhood associations and business improvement districts to make sure that these companies contract and keep our streets clean.”
Simotas said property values are estimated to drop by seven percent in neighborhoods with an abundance of trash.
State Senator Michael Gianaris has agreed to sponsor the bill in the State Senate.
“Western Queens is the fastest growing part of New York City, and as the buildings are going up and people are moving in garbage is coming with them,” Gianaris said. “What we need in this part of New York is more services not less. The city cutting back from two pick-ups to one is exactly the wrong thing to be doing.”
“Any legislation that will help to keep the sidewalks and streets clean is very important,” said Catherine Piecora, executive director of the Astoria Restoration Association. “This legislation will give us the opportunity to have businessmen empty the trash baskets for us in addition to sanitation.”
Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr. also attended the rally, and said that Western Queens is not the only area facing an increase in trash on the streets.
“It is really a shame to see the streets of Astoria, Queens and all of the outer boroughs being trashed again by Manhattan,” said Vallone. “We have more people now and less pick-ups.”
He went on to say that he believes in addition to the proposed legislation, there should be stricter enforcement on litterers. “I can’t think of a better back to balance the the budget on than litterers,” he said.