Managerial incompetence is turning the city into a trash-infested rodent paradise, city Comptroller Scott Stringer said Tuesday, blaming Mayor de Blasio for the pungent problem.
“Instead of welcoming potential customers, the city has rolled out a different welcome mat — for the rats of our city,” Stringer said at a Harlem press conference. “These rats have the run of New York City and if we don’t get this under control now, we can forget about it.”
Among other painful budget cuts, the city slashed $10 million for litter basket collection this year, leading the Sanitation Department to reduce its rounds from seven to three days per week, according to Stringer.
That’s led to a 60% increase in rat complaints, he added, saying small businesses are the ones to suffer.
“I understand that we are in the midst of a budget crisis and money is tight,” Stringer said. “But what I don’t understand is why the city would cut services that businesses need to generate income — the very same income the city needs for its economic and fiscal recovery.”
He said de Blasio could prevent the trash-and-rodent problem in spite of the cuts.
“Own it,” the comptroller said, addressing Hizzoner. “Stop throwing your hands up because you had to make a small budget cut to the Sanitation Department, which is less of a cut than other agencies have taken. This is a poor excuse for bad management.”
There's a warning that trash piling up on New York City streets could force more small businesses to close. https://t.co/VKLCfsdzxk
— CBS New York (@CBSNewYork) August 19, 2020
He called for the city to use “big belly” receptacles and partnerships with local business improvement districts among other steps.
Asked for comment about Stringer’s criticism, de Blasio’s office pointed to a Monday interview on NY1 in which the mayor denied the city has a trash problem.
“We have some problems, for sure,” he said. “I don’t think anyone who keeps saying that the state of city’s in such a dire state — I don’t see that. And I travel around all the time.”
But at the Tuesday press conference, the head of the 125th Street Business Improvement District echoed Stringer’s remarks.
“We can’t live like this just because the city [made cuts],” said Barbara Askins, adding that her group is doing daily trash pickups. “Harlem is now showing that we care and we’re not going to sit back and take it just because there are cuts.”
Taking a page from fellow mayoral wannabe Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams — who launched a controversial rat trap program at an eye-popping press conference last year — Stringer went off on a tirade against vermin.
“These rats are walking around waiting for a table at outdoor seating. I’ve seen them walk upright,” Stringer claimed. “They come up to me and say, ‘Good morning, Mr. Controller.’ They have become part of the fabric of the city because city government has failed to get trash and sanitation under control.”
(c)2020 New York Daily News
Visit New York Daily News at www.nydailynews.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.