It may be time for the city of Dunkirk to take out the trash.
In a suggestion that is likely to be politically unpopular, it is obvious that garbage and recycling collection is hindering efforts at making the city more user friendly for motorists and tourists. Last week, resident Don Horton went to the Public Works committee meeting to voice his displeasure on the rough roads.
"Guys are sick, guys are off. I sympathize with the department," he said. Maybe it's a manpower issue, maybe it is. It looks like the month of July holes don't get done because we're picking up brush. So does that mean we're into August before we fill holes?
"I'd like an answer. I'd like to know when the holes on my street get fixed?"
Unfortunately in Dunkirk, streets and other items become second fiddle because the priority is trash pick-up. This, of course, can be fixed if residents are willing to undergo a major culture change.
Collection could be contracted out to a private service. Silver Creek already does this. Why not Dunkirk?
Taking it a step further, maybe residents could pay a fee for trash pick-up. Village of Fredonia, and other municipalities, already do this as well.
This way, Department of Public Works employees can focus on items such as snowplowing, sinkholes, waterpipe maintenance and pothole filling.
Tony Gugino, Department of Public Works supervisor, has watched staffing dwindle from 32 when he took over more than 10 years ago to 14 currently in the department. In the meantime, the biggest complaint we continue to hear from residents and visitors are the road conditions.
Ultimately, however, city DPW employees cannot catch up because six in the department are almost always busy picking up trash.
There is no reason whatsoever the city needs to continue to do a job that is already being done by the private sector, especially when other work the city needs to do on roads is suffering.
Dunkirk needs to at least consider a request for proposals, or dropping the garbage collection altogether. If leaders are to say the suggestions just do not make sense, or do not want to look at it, take it from us: it is just trash talk.