Since the free disposal of debris from Tropical Storm Irene was halted in mid-October, town Highway Superintendent Pete Harris says it’s being dumped all over town roads.
The Southold Town Board voted last Tuesday night to again accept brush for free, effective immediately, at the Cutchogue transfer station through Nov. 30 in response to Mr. Harris’s complaints.
“The residents of this town have just totally taken advantage,” said Mr. Harris at a Town Board meeting Oct. 25. “They used this process to their own personal benefit.”
In addition to free brush disposal at the transfer station, the highway department has been doing a curbside pickup of debris since early September. Due to the massive amount of downed limbs from the storms, in addition to other brush that residents have been piling at the roadsides, Mr. Harris’s crews, who began work in Orient, have only collected brush as far west as Cutchogue this week.
Mr. Harros said he came across one property on Griffing Avenue in Cutchogue, where workers were completely clearing the lot and just dumping the debris on the side of the road. In addition, he sees a lot of fresh brush in the piles that, because it is still green, was certainly not downed in the August tropical storm. And since the transfer station stopped accepting free debris two weeks ago, he said he’s found fresh piles of brush dumped on the side of the road all throughout town.
“I wish the town could give me authority to hand out summonses for illegal dumping,” he said.
Mr. Harris said he gets about 50 phone calls a day from people asking when his crews will begin putting up snow fences, and he will need to reassign some workers who are picking up brush to begin putting up the fences soon.
Councilman Chris Talbot said he thought from the beginning that the town-wide pickup was the wrong idea. He said he thought the town should have let private contractors pick up the debris from peoples’ houses, creating a boon for industry.
The board ultimately decided to re-open the transfer station for free brush delivery until Nov. 30. Mr. Talbot and Justice Louisa Evans voted against the proposal, while the rest of the Town Board voted in favor.