Bedford-Stuyvesant residents, which have been asking and pleading for a sanitation garage for 25 years, will have to wait at least another year.
That, after the city pulled the money for the project out of the fiscal year 2011-12 budget and put it towards two other projects that distribute garbage more equally around the city.
“Obviously, it’s a total disrespect to our community,” said Community Board 3 Chair Henry Butler. “The Department of Sanitation gave no explanation as to why they took money from our project and gave it to other projects.”
Butler noted the sanitation garage site on city-owned property at 56 Nostrand Avenue in City Councilwoman Letitia James’ district has already been designed and is shovel ready.
The funds were pulled following a recent meeting between sanitation officials, James, who also chairs the Council Sanitation Committee, and fellow Council member Domenic Recchia.
Recchia was reportedly more against the pulling of funds than James.
But James responded that the money was pulled to build two waste transfer stations, one of which is in Recchia’s Gravesend Brooklyn district, which Bloomberg didn’t fund in his budget.
Currently, the burden of handling the city’s solid waste for transfer to out-of-state dumps is in a handful of low-income communities in Brooklyn and the Bronx.
Under the reconfigured Solid Waste Management Plan (SWAMP), local transfer stations would be built in more affluent neighborhoods and these residents could no longer truck their garbage to poorer neighborhoods to await the transfer.
“He (Butler) is focusing on the sanitation garage and the community clearly needs it, but we can’t take money from the transfer stations,” said James. “The larger issue is environmental justice.”
When built, the Bed-Stuy sanitation garage will house trucks and other equipment, but not garbage.
Since the early 1980s, Bed-Stuy residents have been advocating for it so that local garbage would be picked up in a more orderly manner and streets would be plowed on time during snowstorms.
James said she is hopeful the project will be funded in next year’s budget.