Town Hall Notes: Southold will force garbage carters to sort recyclables

01/20/2011 5:05 PM |

After hearing complaints from local garbage carters that a new business is violating recycling laws, Southold Town is planning to create a new license to force carters to adhere to state law mandating that they separate recyclables.

The issue came up late last year when other garbage carters told Town Supervisor Scott Russell that Go Green Sanitation, a Riverhead company that claims that it separates garbage so that residents do not have to, has an unfair advantage. They charged it is not following state law requiring recyclables to be separated and that saves it money because the company does not run separate trucks to pick up the recyclables.

Town Councilman Chris Talbot said Mattituck Sanitation has lost 80 customers since Go Green started offering residential service at lower rates.

Go Green’s owner, Frank Fischer, countered in an interview Wednesday that his company is taking all of the garbage it collects to an out-of-town facility that handles the recycling.

“We’re doing nothing illegal; all material is being transported to a New York State- and DEC-approved and -permitted recycling facility,” he said. “We’re simply offering better service at a better price that’s more convenient to the residents.”

The new law, which was recently drafted by town attorney Martin Finnegan, would allow the town to grant permits to garbage carters and to cite carters who violate the conditions of the permit. The town will also only issue renewals to companies in good standing. A notice of public hearing is expected to be issued in two weeks, after the proposed law is reviewed by the town’s code committee.

“They don’t mind competition; they just want it to be fair,” said Councilman Vincent Orlando.

Mr. Russell said that if Go Green continues to operate without separating garbage, every one of the company’s customers could also be cited for violating state law. He said the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is in support of the town’s position.

“The DEC sent us correspondence strongly urging us to make sure state law is being honored,” said Mr. Russell.
TweetinG on town time?

The board briefly discussed whether it can block social networking by town employees while they are on the job. Though social networking sites are blocked on most town-owned computers and PDAs, many town workers have their own devices that they can use throughout the workday.

Town network and systems administrator Lloyd Reisenberg told board members that the town could do little to curb people’s use of their own devices.

Councilman Bill Ruland brought up the issue, and said he was also concerned about what people say on social networking sites.
“There are large companies that serve in this area that have strict policies about what employees can say about their boss or their job. This is understood. If they don’t, they’re terminated,” he said.

Mr. Russell said, however, that he believed people should be able to say what they want, within reason, as long as they do it on their own time.

“From my own view, if someone wants to say something bad about me and they work for me, that’s their right,” he said. “If they’re going to say inappropriate things like criticizing applicants and taxpayers, that’s an issue we have to address when the time comes.”

Filing with FEMA

After a whirlwind tour of eroded beaches with Federal Emergency Management Agency inspectors after the post-Christmas blizzard, Mr. Russell said Tuesday that the town had submitted claims for slightly more than $1 million worth of damage to Southold Town’s public properties, including the last several hundred feet of Soundview Avenue in Southold, which has been closed since the storm.

The town has not yet received a figure from FEMA for the cost of damage to private homes damaged by the storm. Though FEMA does not cover the cost of damage to private property, it does make low-interest loans available to homeowners who want to rebuild.

Mr. Russell said that while he believed it was likely that damage in Suffolk County would meet the $4 million threshold to qualify for FEMA assistance, the storm must also have caused $25 million worth of damage statewide in order for the town to qualify for assistance.

“That’s going to be difficult to meet statewide,” he said.

[email protected]



38 Comment

  • Hello. Just one small correction to the carting story above. Actually, the residents that subscribe with Go Green would not be the ones violated. The company itself is the entity that could be violated. The Town Code specifically prohibit carters from picking up garbage “curbside” that is not separated from the recycled products. Each customer would equate to one violation. Regards, Scott

  • Another new law in Southold, and another permit? I don’t get it. Other then protecting the local garbage company what does this new law do? If go green recycles at their own place that is fine. the effect is the same and they are still recycling. you are just playing favorites with the local Mattituck Sanitation company, and protecting them. Go green is just doing a more efficient job than they are so it is cheaper and better. Why do I have to recycle when they will do it for me, for much much less money then your friends in Mattituck Sanitation. This is completely unfair.

  • I agree in that it would be great to not add more for our one code enforcement officer to enforce, although the idea of making him go through residents’ trash is sort of funny. Let the State do something about it, there sure are enough State workers on salary.

  • What I don’t understand is if I have a dumpster I can throw anything in it without separating the recyclables. We keep getting hit over the head with higher taxes, a permit for this, a permit for that, sticker needed to park here….yellow bags, brown paper bags…so a regular homeowner like myself tries to save a few pennies on garbage pickup and next thing you know we get another new law. And it’s all because of politics, regardless of how much the Town Board denies it. Mattituck sanitation and North Fork Sanitation have the politicians in their pockets, and god forbid an “out of towner” comes along and tries to do some business. This whole thing stinks. Literally.

  • Actually, you are not allowed to throw anything you want in a dumpster. The Town Code requires that you recycle. If you do not, you are out of compliance. Frankly, this whole issue is getting a bit silly. I don’t like the bags and I find recycling and pain but, it is the rules. These were rules that were established years ago by a Town Board who had to deal with the required closing of the landfill and meet DEC required standards for recycling. At the very least, all carters should follow the same rules. Why is that hard to understand? The new company does not “do it for you”. They dump it at a private transfer station which does NOT separate the trash and has no equipment or ability to. It is carted off island. The notion that these local companies (you forgot to mention others) have us in their pocket is baseless. I have no business with any of them. The idea that it is about “politics” is also baseless. Frankly, it would be alot easier to ignore the situation since, we (the Town Board) find ourselves in a position of defending a yellow bag system we don’t particularly like and did not create. I now have the DEC on my back to enforce the requirements of the State and Town Solid Waste Management Plan and what would you suggest we do? This so-called “out of towner” needs to follow the rules just like us plain, country folk. That is what is fair. Feel free to contact me and help me get the DEC to change the rules and then we won’t have to create a permit for the carters to ensure the same rules are followed. My office number is 765-1889. Talk to you soon, Scott

  • You are supposed to be leading Southold Town Board.
    Years ago, and years from now,
    Southold Town Board is currently your responsibility
    to lead not to defend.

    “I don’t like the bags and I find recycling a pain”

    If you don’t like Southold Town garbage bags and find it painful to recycle,
    why don’t you tell us what you do like, and what you find pleasurable?

  • That makes no sense whatsoever. If all you are doing is enforcing the rules, then you would not need to have your town attorney make up a new law. You would simply enforce the rules that we already have, and that would be enough. But no, you are making up a new law, and then you are going to try to violate them based on that. So no, you are wrong. Like I said if they were already violating a law, they could be issued a violation and there would be no need for you to make the attorney crete a new law.
    Also, do you know for an absolute fact that the facility go green brings their garbage to is NOT recycling? Do you know that as a fact? Has anyone actually been there and checked? Probably not, let’s face it. The owner of go green says that he hauls to a DEC approved location, so then you are calling him a liar, correct?
    The problem is that the local companies handle their garbage locally and it costs them too much to seperate the trash here. Maybe if they hauled to the same DEC approved location as go green they could offer the same service.

  • Also if they are violating a New york state or DEC law then let the DEC police issue them a violation, or the state troopers. Why does Southold have to get involved? I say let them do what they are doing and if it is illegal then then DEC will violate them. You just have no way to violate them under the town laws, so you are making up a new one to then give them a violation.
    This is protection of Mattituck and North Fork Sanitation and the other locals and nothing less than that. It is wrong.

  • I mention that because I understand why people do not like the current system. I follow it and recycle because it is the right thing to do.F urther, I have spent the last few years exploring other ways to deal with the garbage issue but, have found nothing that would be better at meeting our goasl. You are correct though, I poorly stated that. Scott

  • The Go Green company is in the process of getting served. The new law would simply make him or any other company prove that they are meeting the requirements of recycling. If he contends that he is separating, he would need to prove it. Also, yes Town reps were at the Medford facility he carts to and he has also used our own facility- which does not seperate bagged garbage. Don’t you think that it is reasonable to pass a law that requires a business to prove that they actually perform the service they advertise? If he is, there sould be no problems. Perhaps the Town may eventually decide that we should do away with the yellow bag system and all of those issues are being discussed. We asked the DEC to meet with us so we can discuss what options we have. In the mean time, I do not think it is unfair that the Town makes sure every business follows the same rules. Scott

  • Riverhead has municipal waste pickup service. I don’t know how their system works as far as tax implications for the residents; perhaps it it something that could be looked at? I do know that the carter who has the contract for the Town of Riverhead picks up anything that is put out at the curb, such as couches, appliances etc. They supply the residents with a large container. Also in Southampton Town, there is no Town pckup service but there are several private carters who supply the large container in which anything can be disposed of. The advertisements are on WLNG all the time, Norsic is one of the companies.

  • Thanks local 48. I will look into how Southampton does it and see if that is possible here. i have no problem changing the rules so long as DEC signs off and the rules get changed for everybody. Thanks again, Scott

  • It’s true, you can throw anything you want in a dumpster and get away without recycling. That’s half the reason people get dumpsters for their houses…

  • Thank you Scott.

  • In Riverhead we have seperate days for recyclables, paper, wet garbage, etc. We also have what is called bulk pick up on a seperate day. We cannot just throw everything in one container. But reading the complaints , Riverheads plan is far better!!!!

  • So if I have a dumpster, I do not need to recycle. Well then my question is what is the smallest dumpster that you can get? Can dumpsters be made out of plastic? Can dumpsters be small, and made out of plastic, and say Go Green on the side?
    If dumpster users do not need to recycle and it is more cost efficient to use a dumpster, and I dont have to byt those cheap yellow bags, then I am getting a dumpster. And I also think that the large plastic garbage disposal units that Go Green supplies you with can be considered a dumpster, until the town sues them and proves me wrong. Plus, it is just like this town to waste money suing a company.

  • Didn’t the supervisor answer that question already? You are supposed to recycle even if you use a dumpster.

  • this is about one thing the big almighty dollar and the good old boys network push out the new guy its so clear by all the articles that the other companies dont want the competition and somebodys piece of the pie is getting smaller its funny to me how the towns are wasting all their energy and resources on this wow imagine if they gave a damn about all the illegals in these towns taking our jobs ripping off our system driving with no licence no registrations north carolina plates having ten kids draining our local economy but i forgot to much work and oh yea politically incorrect but you can attack and slander the hard working garbage guy thats paying for the food stamps makes sense and i have used the other companies and nobody ever goes through these containers its a joke.

  • $2.25 for a “yellow bag” , in bags per month alone I will be saving money if I use Go Green. Yellow , black, green , why do I have to buy the towns YELLOW bags ?? They are all PLASTIC aren’t they ??
    Mr Russells and local carters position is one of sour grapes. The only thing they are both concerned about is preserving THEIR OWN INCOMES !
    Until the town wises up and provides garbage service that is reasonable in both price and convenience, I am going green with “GO GREEN” .
    Stop picking on an American with entrepreneurial spirit, Go Green should be commended for providing the service , especially for our elderly population here in the town of Southold.

    P.S. Mr Russell,
    You lost my vote next next time around , how dare you threaten those that would choose to use Go Green in lieu of the town dump !

  • Mr Russell could make better use of his time by getting the ILLEGAL immigration problem here in town under control. I suggest he start at the wineries .
    I bet all of the ILLEGAL immigration this township absorbs costs a lot more than the revenue his Yellow bags brings in !

  • I do not believe i threatened anyone. Who did i threaten? The Towns position is not to make him or his customers buy yellow bags- it is to make sure that he requires his customers to recycle. The permit our Town is governed by is under the jurisdiction of the DEC. We are required to meet the States mandate of recycling. again, if I can get the DEc to look differently at our committments then I would be happy to change the rules for everyone in the carting business just as long as the rules are applied and followed evenly. The recycling requirement is not likely to be waived by the State and, frankly, it shouldn’t. It is not the 1970’s anymore and we all have a responsibility to reduce our waste stream. The GoGreen company is not making that effort but, merely turning the hands of time back. local 48 raised the issue of Southampton which i am looking into. I talked to the Supervisor there who gave me the contact info for the new Sanitation Supervisor but, she was not in Friday. I assure you that I will follow up Monday to see how the issue of mandated recycling is being addressed there. Now on the “threatening”, i made it perfectly clear in my response above that the Town would NOT violate customers but, the company. That was a mistatement in the article that I corrected. The town board discussed the issue and we were informed by the Town Attorney that every customer he has could equal one violation for his comany. We never suggested that the customers themselves could or should be violated. I am quite serious about pursuing Southamptons system as was suggested and, as I said in an earlier post here, we are discussing everything including elimination of yellow bags. But, I do need to have DEC sign off on any changes we make. By the way, they are not “my yellow bags” but were part of a sanitation system created a long time ago (1993) and the sale or lack thereof is not a function of my salary or the general operating expenses of Town Hall. The Solid Waste District is a separate tax district. Would you support a system that eliminated yellow bags but still required you to recycle?

  • Southampton has a similar system, using a “green” bag. I believe that these are for the self haulers. If a carter is picking up residential waste I don’t think the bags are required. I am not positive about this, perhaps this will be clarified when you contact the Sanitation Supervisor. It seems like that is the big complaint; if we are paying a carter, whoever it happens to be, that we have to pay twice; for the pickup service and for the yellow bags. If for instance I choose to take 10 bags of household garbage myself, I can load it all into the back of a pickup truck in regular Hefty garbage bags, drive across the scale and pay the 6 cents per pound. If I pay a sanitation company, they are essentially doing the same thing except everything is in the yellow bags. So I have to pay double; that is where the people seem to have the most issues with I think. I looked at the Southampton code on their website and after figuring out how to navigate it, it seems like the consumer has to separate the recyclables there as well.

  • Thank you local 48. One clarification is that the haulers who pick up garbage in the yellow bags do not pay once the dump it at the landfill. It is accepted for free. The only times they pay is when they bring garbage in that is not in yellow bags such a commercial, etc.. We do not charge twice, only once- the cost of the yellow bags if they are used on the once over the scales if not. Thank you for the info on Southampton. Scott

  • So if a carter is accepting bagged refuse that is not separated then it will be charged with a violation. Who is going to look through all the bagged garbage in the yellow ‘town bags’ to see that all users of said bags are sorting their recyclables? I think it is ridiculous that we have to double or even triple bag our garbage to have it survive a trip to the curb or the dump. If GoGreen is deceiving its clients with false claims, then have at em. But if they are able to provide the service that they claim hooray for them.

  • maybe it’s time for a state or federal agency to investigate all of the shananagens within the town of southold, starting with town hall.

  • Southold Town should stay out of this they are fighting the fight of private industry. Let the private carters do their own dirty work.

  • In regards to the administrative reductions: are those positions that are being eliminated and will result in two administrators being laid-off? Or are they, as is rumored, simply the switching of a job title and the resignation of another? If this is the case, I do not see how they can really be seen as cuts. If up to 37 faculty members and 18 members of the support staff will be losing their jobs, it seems that more needs to be cut from the “top” rather from the areas that have a direct impact on the students.

  • What is the status of the teacher’s contract-is it due to be negotiated? Or was it completed last year without sharing the information with residents?

  • I feel that the increase in healthcare costs is a very understated contributor to this budget disaster. The exorbitant rise in health insurance premiums has been devastating for small businesses, schools, state employers, etc., throughout the nation. Why do the insurance companies/government think that everyone can just suddenly afford a 30-40% increase in their healthcare? It’s not like everyone’s getting raises (if they’re lucky enough to be employed in the first place). Aren’t there certain things in the US that should be guaranteed? Like access to affordable healthcare?

  • It’s under 200k, almost considered a modest salary for a superintendent. However, I remain unimpressed by her “sacrifice.” Possibly a pay cut would go further in displaying her conviction? Anyhow, it won’t make an ounce of difference in the end result.

  • How will this directly impact the children? If 37 faculty members and 18 support staff are to be losing their jobs won’t class size increase? How many students will be in each class at the primary level? This is disconcerting as this is the foundation of the educational experience, particularly for students who have only had half-day Kindergarten. How many administrators are truly essential?

  • In the high school there is a principle, asst. principle, an asst. to the asst. principle, a dean of students, operation people who job it is to take messages from one office to another, a slew of asst. to clerical aides and secretary’s, so very many unnecessary people when that money should be going towards the students. The money we in Miller Place pay in taxes is high and our students get little in return – Not only educationally but also what clubs and programs are offered.
    I have lived in this district for 17 yrs and have 2 sons still in school now at the high school level.
    Let me just add, I have kept this brief.

  • Why the need for an asst. principle at Laddy Decker for grades 3,4 & 5?

  • So dumping and recycling on marsh land in Flanders is good for the environment? Recycling is the law….and you don’t do it in your back yard so all the neighbors have to deal with trucks and illegal aliens in their backyards as well. Sounds like you have issues with the local carting companies….when all they are doing is following town laws. To the one talking about welfare, well, Go Green should put all his workers on the books and employ citizens and support our own economy. Too much is coming out of this. People should stop bashing each other and just do the right thing…that way, no one gets hurt.