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Sun., Oct. 4
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
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Potsdam cleanup efforts effective so far, mayor says


POTSDAM — Village officials promised to do more to clean up the trash that often litters Market Street after a busy weekend when they put a series of improvements in place at the end of the summer.

“We’re making good progress,” said Mayor Steven W. Yurgartis.

Casella Resource Solution moved village garbage pickup from Tuesday to Monday to help combat the after-weekend mess.

“That helped quite a bit,” said Village Administrator David H. Fenton.

However, Casella is responsible only for emptying garbage bins, not for cleaning up the trash scattered along the street and sidewalk.

Business owners will often pitch in to clean up Market Street, but since the end of the summer, Department of Public Works employees have been spending a few hours every week picking up trash.

“They’re getting a lot of the loose stuff on the sidewalk picked up. It seems to be going really well. It seems to be quite an improvement,” Mr. Fenton said.

The village is working with the St. Lawrence County Probation Office to get permission to have those sentenced to community service clean the streets under supervision rather than continuing to pay DPW employees for that service. That would allow the village to continue the cleanup permanently without having to cut other services.

Mr. Yurgartis said the permission will be received within the next few weeks, if all goes according to plan.

“It’s been slow going. It’s government bureaucracy,” he said.

The village already had planned to buy new larger-capacity garbage bins to replace the small, worn-out receptacles that dot Market Street, but that has been delayed as officials look into cost-saving measures.

Replacing the bins is an ongoing process, Mr. Yurgartis said, with those near very busy locations getting first priority while others will be repaired, cleaned and painted.

Casella has been told to make sure to pick up the trash from every bin, and to be more judicious about locking them up properly after pickup to prevent large amounts of trash being dumped at once. So far, that has helped, Mr. Yurgartis said.

Village business owners said the improvements are a good first step, but there is still plenty of trash on the street.

“I think there’s an improvement. It hasn’t been as bad as it was,” said Nancy A. White, owner of Good Times Party Store at 57 Market St.

The cleanup effort may be expanded next spring, including power-washing the sidewalks, Mr. Yurgartis said.

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