SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– It was standing room only Wednesday night at a Syracuse Common Council public hearing for city neighbors to voice their opinions about the DPW’s plans to overhaul their trash pick-up system.

Two proposals were up for discussion. The first is the implementation of 95-gallon garbage carts for all city residents. These carts would be provided by the city free of charge and be picked up by semi-automated trucks that would use arms attached to the DPW trucks to pick up the carts.

This new system is in an effort to keep sanitation workers safer as the City of Syracuse says they receive the most workers’ compensation claims from this department from accidents where workers slip and fall while picking up the trash. 

While there were some concerns about the large size of the trash bins the general consensus from neighbors was in support of this change. Many expressed frustration with the current litter that plagues the city’s streets and hopes these carts that have a lid on them will help alleviate some of those issues. 

The City of Syracuse Chief Operating Officer, Corey Driscoll Dunham said the DPW currently offers accommodations and assistance to older residents and people with mobility issues for trash pick-up. The city would look to formalize that process and expand it with this new program. 

The second proposal on the table Wednesday was for the city to stop providing trash pick-up to commercial properties with 4-10 units, instead putting the responsibility on the property owner to contract with a private hauler or get a dumpster.

The majority of the people that spoke during public comment were against this proposal as they believe the tenants will incur that cost with higher rent costs.

“One little secret that I have learned in the 40 years I’ve been in the rental business, the tenants pay for everything,”

One neighbor said during Wednesday’s public hearing

Landlord Derek Dunford said that’s exactly what would happen if this proposal was passed. He said it would be too difficult to put a dumpster on his properties and that dumpsters come with a whole host of other issues.

The City of Syracuse says they would save $365,000 annually by not providing trash pickup for these bigger units. 

“I understand the concerns, the issue is that these are commercial properties, they are taxed as commercial properties they are treated differently by New York State and our department of assessment and they’re the only commercial property that receives this subsidy so we really want to focus this service on residential properties on that one, two, and three units,”

Corey Driscoll Dunham, City of Syracuse Chief Operating Officer

Other neighbors addressed concerns that adding additional private haulers to the city streets would create a bigger carbon footprint and more congestion on already busy streets. 

If the proposals are passed phase one would begin in May with 20% of the neighborhoods getting their free garbage carts. The rest would be distributed between July and September. Recycling would continue as normal with the goal of rolling out 95-gallon recycling bins next year. 

These proposals will go before the Common Council during their next session and be voted on February 27.