Trash Talk Dominates Haverhill City Council Discussion This Week of Downtown Cleanliness

Haverhill City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua presented this photograph as evidence of the private trash collection problem downtown. (Courtesy photograph.)

The Haverhill City Council meeting included some trash talking this past Tuesday.

City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua presented a photograph he took of an overflowing dumpster downtown, using it as example of what he cited as an ongoing issue.

“This is a continual problem with dumpsters that are overflowing and in the public view where we encourage people to visit and shop and spend money and live. The other problem is that when the dumpsters are emptied, the trash that you see on the left side of the dumpster is not picked up. That’s left there, which is a public health hazard, I believe, and a safety hazard,” he said.

Bevilacqua said trash is even more problematic now as businesses are trying to lure people back into the downtown area. He proposed asking the Board of Health and the building inspector for more frequent trash pickups.

Council President Melinda E. Barrett agreed the problem needs to be addressed. She said she spoke to Inspectional Services Director Richard MacDonald who told her he is going after business owners who allow trash to accumulate.

“He did start writing tickets for overflowing dumpsters. He said he would rather try more enforcement right now than to increase fines,” Barrett said.

Councilors unanimously backed Bevilacqua’s motion. They also discussed the possibility of increased recycling pickups to cut down on the amount of trash.

In an unrelated matter, the Council also discussed the need for clearly marked crosswalks now that school is back in session.

Bevilacqua noted many of the city’s crosswalks have become faded over the winter and need repainting. He proposed asking the Department of Public Works to begin repainting as soon as possible.

Barrett responded she recently discussed that subject with a member of the department and it was already on their to-do list.

“The temperature has to be at a certain temperature before they can paint the roads and you also need good weather as well as higher temperatures,” she explained.

In this instance, members voted 5-4 to contact public works with Barrett and Councilors William J. Macek, Michael S. McGonagle and Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien opposed to the duplication of efforts.

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