Overflowing Trash Downtown Continues to Raise the Ire of Haverhill City Councilors

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

Haverhill City Councilors say overflowing trash cans downtown are a detriment to the city’s vision of becoming a destination.

Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan recently said dumpsters in the areas of Washington and Wingate Streets are frequently eyesores. He called on the Council to review city regulations and enforcement policies and come up with a plan to resolve the issue.

“As we try to grow the downtown and make transformational change to the downtown, we have to be mindful that we have to do a better job of taking care of what we have, especially for the residents but also for the businesses that operate downtown,” he said.

It is not the first time this year the problem has reached the City Council. Back in March, Councilor William J. Macek told his colleagues of an email complaint he received about excessive debris downtown. He pointed out money received from parking meters is supposed to be spent on maintenance in the central business district. The following month, City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua presented a photograph he took of an overflowing dumpster downtown. He cited it as example of an ongoing issue.

This time, Sullivan noted the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority’s Granite Street garage also needs cleaning.

Richard MacDonald, director of Inspectional Services, told the Council he is aware of the problems and his team follows up on every report they receive.

“We have issued citation letters. We have issued fines. We have instituted heavier patrolling of those areas with the inspectors, making sure we don’t have any issues. When we do have those issues, a lot of it relates to those dumpsters being visible and anyone coming and just unloading in those dumpsters, in front of the dumpsters and beside the dumpsters,” he said.

MacDonald said business owners are ultimately responsible, however, and his team has been making enforcement a priority while continuing to look for other solutions.

Council President Melinda E. Barrett asked about the possibility of using trash compactors to lessen the amount of waste and locks for the dumpsters themselves. MacDonald said both ideas had potential and he hoped to discuss those and other ideas with the downtown business owners and the Board of Health in the near future.

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