City brings compost pitch to CB 5 meet 1

The city’s brown composting bins are making a post-Covid comeback.

The city is bringing back organics recycling several months earlier than planned. But the Department of Sanitation told members of Community Board 5 on Oct. 13 that there will be significant changes to the program that was just getting its footing before the pandemic shut it down in 2020.

Sidewalk pickups from the city-issued brown bins have already started in sections of Brooklyn, according to Sid Berraha of the DSNY.

“Originally, it was going to come back in mid-2022,” Berraha told the board in a video of the meeting available on YouTube. “But this year, on Earth Day, Mayor de Blasio announced it would be coming back about nine months ahead of schedule.”

But the model will be slightly different, with residents being required to sign up for collections.

“It lets us know that you plan to participate,” Berraha said. “And so our trucks don’t come back half-empty.” The aim is to reduce the material headed to landfills by as much as one-third while creating mulch and clean energy. The bins can take food scraps, food-soiled paper like napkins, tea bags and coffee filters and yard waste. Berraha said when enough people in an area sign up, collections will be initiated. Residents can sign up at nyc.gov/curbsidecomposting or by calling 311.

CB 5 Chairman Vincent Arcuri raised doubts about the change in collections.

“When we started the program, we went districtwide and people cooperated,” he said. “I believe if we do it individually, voluntarily, it isn’t going to happen.”

In other business, CB 5 approved its priority lists for city-funded capital projects and expense items to be considered in the 2022-23 budget.

The top priority is the redesign and rebuilding of portions of the sewer system, made all the more urgent with flooding from Tropical Storm Ida.

“Our concentration now is for eastern Glendale, and I’m hoping to get a sewer project in 77th Avenue from at least 80th Street to probably Woodhaven Boulevard,” said District Manager Gary Giordano.

Other capital priorities, in order, include providing more stormwater runoff mitigation; reconstructing Wyckoff Avenue between Flushing and Cooper avenues; replacing the existing bridge on Grand Avenue across Newtown Creek in Maspeth; new sidewalks, curbs and pedestrian ramps on Myrtle Avenue from Fresh Pond Road to Wyckoff Avenue; replacing deteriorated catch basins; rehabilitating the Ridgewood Reservoir and portions of Highland Park; reconstruction at Benninger Park in Ridgewood; reconstruction at Joseph F. Mafera Park in Ridgewood; and replacing the athletic field and track surfaces in the western end of Juniper Valley Park.

Expense budget requests include more personnel for the NYPD’s 104th Precinct; more field workers for the city’s Bureau of Water and Sewer Operations; more inspectors and planners to deal with illegal uses of property and construction; DSNY funding for basket collections and street cleanups; recreation and education programs for children and teens; more staffing at FDNY firehouses in the district; meals and nutrition programs for seniors; more recycling collections at schools; more Queens personnel for the Division of Forestry; and traffic safety improvements.

On the public safety front, Giordano said the board is working with the 104th Precinct to clamp down on a number of pop-up party sites in the district.

He said one location, diagonally across from the board office on Myrtle Avenue, back in July has a dispute that resulted in gunfire.

“Three bullets entered the building next door to the district office,” Giordano said.

But the focus now is at the former site of Midville Hardware at 73-02 Metropolitan Ave. The complaints, he said, are uniform — loud noise, people spilling out into the street, public use of alcohol and marijuana and public urination.

“I’d like to see a MARCH operation,” he said, an acronym standing for Multi-Agency Response to Community Hotspots.

In such operations, inspectors from the FDNY, Building Department, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, State Liquor Authority and other agencies arrive at a problematic address simultaneously to see if there are any infractions.

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