(BINGHAMTON, N.Y.) — Mayor Richard C. David today announced the City of Binghamton will discontinue its pink bulk item sticker program starting Jan. 1, 2018.
“The entire bulk item sticker program made residents feel 'nickel-and-dimed' by City Hall,” said Mayor David. “Taxpayers deserve free disposal of bulk items with every refuse collection. This change will result in cleaner neighborhoods, less code violations and more money back in residents’ pockets. This will affect all City residents, ending their frustrations with the program.”
Currently, residents wanting to dispose of items too large for garbage bags must purchase and affix a $3 pink sticker to all items.
In 2011, the pink bulk item sticker program was introduced to generate tipping fee revenue and increase recycling volume. The enacting legislation, introduced by Councilman Sean Massey and signed by Mayor Matt Ryan, was unanimously approved by City Council.
While the program generated roughly $60,000 in annual revenue, it was plagued with compliance issues since its beginning. In 2016 alone, the Department of Public Works wrote 779 violations for bulk items at the curb without a pink sticker.
“Many residents either could not afford or outright rejected the additional pink sticker fee imposed in 2011, and instead chose to stockpile trash on front porches, in backyards and garages, which had a negative impact on the quality and cleanliness of City neighborhoods,” said Mayor David. “In extreme cases, trash even piled up inside homes causing health and safety issues for children and families. I’m now eliminating a fee that should never have been in place to begin with.”
During “Operation Clean Sweep,” the City’s recent free refuse collection program which suspended pink sticker and blue garbage bag rules, Public Works crews collected 910 tons of garbage, roughly three times the amount collected during the same two-week period in 2016.
“By removing bureaucratic barriers — like the pink bulk item sticker — we saw better compliance and participation in cleanup efforts,” said Mayor David. “The data generated from this successful initiative validates the elimination of the bulk item sticker.”
Mayor David announced this policy change ahead of his 2018 Budget Address to give residents and bulk item sticker retailers time to plan and adapt. Mayor David will propose legislation to repeal the pick sticker program at City Council’s next work session.
Starting Jan. 1, 2018, residents may dispose of bulk items for free as part of their weekly regularly scheduled refuse collection. There will be no changes to the City’s blue garbage bag policies.
Due to the success of “Operation Clean Sweep,” the City will continue to schedule free refuse collections as part of neighborhood clean-up efforts throughout next year.
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