YONKERS, N.Y. – Yonkers residents will no longer be left holding the bag when it comes to trash pickup for downtown businesses.
Starting Nov. 15, the city will no longer offer free trash removal for businesses in the Yonkers Downtown/Waterfront Business Improvement District — a move officials say will save taxpayers up to $300,000 a year.
“Yonkers can no longer subsidize the Downtown BID with free city services that no other businesses in the city receive or are entitled to,” Mayor Mike Spano said in an announcement of the decision late last week.
Spano said the practice has cost taxpayers millions of dollars, adding, “while we value the businesses invested in our downtown redevelopment and are committed to working with them, this practice is unsustainable.”
Started in 2001 as a way to clean up the Getty Square area, the free trash pickup was meant to be a temporary bridge to support the Downtown BID, Spano said. Instead, the perk continued for more than 10 years, with the city collecting trash — twice a day, five days a week — at no cost to more than 200 businesses in the business district, Spano said.
But now, in addition to being financially unsustainable, the free collection service may also be unconstitutional, as all business outside the downtown district pay for their trash removal, the mayor’s office said.
Business owners received notice of the change Aug. 15, and will have to start paying for collection by Nov. 15, the mayor said.
“In uncovering this past practice, and putting a swift end to it, our administration continues to take action and demonstrate to the city’s taxpayers that we are committed to addressing the fiscal crisis which threatens the city’s long-term solvency,” Spano said.