After failing to show up at last month’s East Williston Village Board meeting, representatives of Dejana Industries appeared at Monday night’s board meeting to answer complaints village residents have raised about the company’s garbage pick-up practices.
Village of East Williston Mayor David Tanner said the new three-year contract unanimously approved by the board at its May 14 meeting had drawn questions from residents about endorsing the deal. The contract was set at $345,000 for the 2012-13 fiscal year with two annual renewal options at 2 percent.
Tanner opened the dialogue on Monday night with a personal complaint about the company’s service.
‘“My garbage wasn’t picked up last week,” Tanner said, adding that he’s received other complaints about “incidents where residents are unhappy” about garbage pick-up.
Tanner also said he had expected notification if the company’s representatives weren’t going to show up for last month’s meeting.
Bill Wynperle, Dejana executive vice president, said he had the flu last month and notified his assistant to inform the board he wouldn’t make the meeting. He said he didn’t know at the time that his assistant was also out sick.
Wynperle said he couldn’t account for the apparent inconsistencies East Williston residents were reporting about their garbage pick-up – including Tanner’s complaint.
“Sometimes we find out people put out the garbage after the truck is passed,” he said. “Our men are paid to pick up the garbage and we’re concerned when they don’t do that.”
He said the recent requirement by the Town of North Hempstead to ensure separation of garbage from grass cuttings and recyclables could be part of the reason for recent problems. He said the town was intent on controlling material put in its landfill.
“That’s why we ask for clear bags because we don’t know the contents,” Wynperle said.
He said that East Williston has one of the “most aggressive” compulsory pick-up rules for recyclables among the municipalities that DeJana services.
“It just seems that things are off,” Tanner said.
“It’s very sporadic,” village Trustee Caroline DeBenedittis said about garbage pick-up in the village recently.
Wynperle said the residents are sometimes the source of garbage pick-up problems, but added that he didn’t want to “prejudge” the situation. He said garbage being put in black bags would not be picked up by Dejana workers because of the need to know what sort of material is in the bags.
“That could be one of the answers. If we don’t know what’s in it, we can’t pick it up,” Wynperle said.
Tanner said the garbage he had put out last week was in a black bag.
Wynperle said he would provide the mayor a written response to all complaints filed in the past 18 months and the prior 18-month period as well.
East Williston village attorney Jeffrey Blinkoff said he had not understood that garbage was required to be put in clear bags or bags bearing stickers indicating their content.
Wynperle said putting garbage in bins was another option residents could employ.
Outside the meeting, John Mangano, Dejana director of business development, said the company was eager to sort out the issues with the East Williston residents.
“We’re taking it very seriously. The claims are unsubstantiated until I know the exact answer of why they in fact happened,” Mangano said. “We’re trying to do the right thing and get them fixed.”
In other developments:
• Village trustee Robert Vella, Jr. reported that he succeeded in convincing the Williston Park Village Board to hold off on a planned increase in its water rates at its June 18 meeting.
Williston Park’s proposed schedule of rate increases would push the wholesale rate Williston Park is now charging East Williston up 15 percent to $4.41 per 1,000 gallons of water from the current $3.83 per 1,000 gallons of water. The current rate being charged is the subject of a lawsuit East Williston filed earlier this year against its neighbor village.
Vella said the Williston Park board didn’t act on rate increase suggested in a report it commissioned from consulting engineers Dvirka & Batolucci “so that our village could tell its side of the story.”
Representatives of the two villages met recently in a first step toward resolving the ongoing dispute.
“Negotiations are ongoing. We’re trying,” Vella said.
After the meeting, East Williston Deputy Mayor Bonnie Parente, who represented the village with Tanner at the meeting with Williston Park officials said there were no further meetings currently scheduled.
• Tanner said the board would hold hearings on Aug. 13 to consider three new local laws. He said a local law would be considered to amend the structure of parking fines in the village, including imposition of a penalty for parking violators who don’t show up in village court. A second local law would impose penalties for residents whose alarm systems generate repeated false fire calls.
“The [fire] department has been called to answer false alarms and they’ve been repeat calls,” said East Williston Fire Department Chief Patrick Theodore.
Theodore said calls from one residence have been so frequent that some fire department volunteers failed to respond to it.
A third law is to be considered to repeal and/or modify requirements for lettering on village “No trespassing” signs.
• Village Trustee Christopher Siciliano exhibited one of 13 stop signs that had recently been vandalized in the village. The signs were stenciled with words to make them read, “Stop in the name of love.”
Siciliano said an unknown number of stop signs in Mineola were also recently vandalized in the same way.