Despite Complaints, No Changes to City’s Trash Program

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini poses with a rolling trash cart.

Nearly three months into the new automated trash pickup program, Haverhill residents are being told by city department heads it will take more time and educational efforts to “get all the bugs out.”

Several Haverhill city councilors Tuesday grilled Public Works Director Michael K. Stankovich and Inspectional Services Director Richard MacDonald on, among other things, complaints from residents, claiming inconsistent pick up efforts involving overflow or excess trash, as well as bulk items, from inner city multi-family dwellings or homes in other neighborhoods. Other concerns were raised about overflow bags, left on the ground beside the rolling trash barrels, being infiltrated by rodents, or alleged “neglect” to pick up items from non-wheeled trash containers. However, according to Stankovich, “a lot of positive developments” have come with the new trash program, such as 20 percent less trash tonnage dumped at the Covanta trash facility last month compared to a year ago, prorated tipping cost saving as much as $270,000 and an increased 23 percent recycling participation rate. He also said more awareness is needed of city regulations, including a 6 a.m. deadline for all curbside placement and having barrel lids fully closed.

“Folks got used to having their trash collected at 10 o’clock, one o’clock, two o’clock, whatever the case may be. They were technically in violation of the board of health regulations which have been in place for 15 or 20 years. I think it’s important to note everything has to be out by 6 a.m. because, again, the trucks change schedules now. They have different programs that they’re doing and things to this nature as well and so that has created somewhat confusion,” Stankovich said.

Councilor William J. Macek, who requested the discussion, questioned whether automated or manual trash pickup was behind “inconsistencies” such as half-emptied rolling trash barrels.

“Somebody said they had put two bags of trash in their Toter. The trash person from Capitol went over, opened the lid, saw the big black bag of trash, pulled it out, put the lid down, threw it in the truck and took off. There was another bag below that big bag the person couldn’t see. So they’re not always emptying. I had a Toter not completely emptied too. I didn’t see whether that was human or mechanical error. For whatever reason, it shouldn’t be the case,” Macek said.

A debate ensued between Councilor Melinda E. Barrett and Stankovich as she questioned “risk” or alleged “punishment” upon those placing barrels later than 6 a.m.

Stankovich: “Barrels have to be out by 6 a.m., that’s all I’ll say. Any enforcement goes through the board of health. Put your trash out after 4 p.m. or before 6 a.m., you will have no problems.

Barrett: “But in all fairness, in some instances people’s lives… you’re out, you’re not home…”

Stankovich: “Again, that’s the rules and regulations. I don’t like to stop at a stop sign, or so on or so forth…Put your trash out by 6 a.m.”

Barrett: “I don’t think that’s quite as negligent as running a red light. It’s a service to the whole community. You don’t want to have everyone’s trash pile up because they were out of town or didn’t get their trash out until 10 a.m. even though their trash truck doesn’t come until (1 p.m.). There has to be a little wiggle room.”

MacDonald, addressing the issue of fines or notices to residents, told councilors department inspectors have “gone from enforcement to educational” efforts while time is needed to “work out the kinks” when a new program is initiated.

“I have directed to inspectors, daily. They go out. If there is an issue they leave something that says what is wrong so the individual knows.  I believe in the three month period we have done almost 1,300 of these. Again we are trying to educate, this is a new program. In my opinion, I think it’s good to get these questions out. But I think the better answers are what happens after this winter and we have another discussion,” MacDonald said.

The idea of a proposed transfer station for “excess, not overflow trash,” suggested by Macek, possibly behind the public works yard off Primrose Street, would be investigated further. According to Stankovich, it would require permitting by the Department of Environmental Protection and could become subject to “vermin and rodents near Little River.”

3 thoughts on “Despite Complaints, No Changes to City’s Trash Program

  1. Living in a 5 family home. My house is the only one who has recycled, so I don’t see how this program is working. If you drive down streets who are scheduled for recycling pickup, do you see an increase on what needs to be picked up? I don’t.

  2. Stankovich: “Again, that’s the rules and regulations. ‘I don’t like to stop at a stop sign,’ or so on or so forth…Put your trash out by 6 a.m.”

    What an arrogant SOB !!!! This displays the mentality of Haverhill city employees perfectly. They have absolutely no accountability to taxpayers and think that they are the boss. Listen to this hack Stankovich….he’s pretty much telling Ms. Barrett “F U….just put your trash out!”.

    This exaggerated sense of importance and entitlement by Stankovich comes from knowing he can treat city councilors and citizens in Haverhill any way he wants and nothing will happen to him. It comes from watching Jim Flaherty literally rip off taxpayers for decades with multiple mayors doing nothing about it. It comes from watching as 30 city fire fighters conspired with each other to steal over $55,000.00 from taxpayers and mayor failurentini did nothing about it. It comes from watching as one of those fire fighters not only didn’t get disciplined in any way, he gets a promotion to lead the department. It comes from watching as city fire fighters secretly covered shifts of one of their fellow hacks while he was in prison and the mayor did nothing to discipline them all.

    Good for you Melinda Barrett !!! Great job of exposing Stankovich for the miserable hack he is. He could care less about providing a high level of service to the taxpayers who pay his salary. With this public exposure that he doesn’t belong in a job where customer service is required I’d suggest you take steps to get him removed from the position. But we all know under this mayor that will never happen.