Tag Archives: Department of Sanitation

Sanitation worker honored with Maspeth garage dedication


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/NYC Sanitation

A Department of Sanitation garage is being renamed to honor a veteran sanitation worker who was run over by a street sweeper in June.

On June 21, Steven Frosch, 43, was working on a street sweeper when another worker accidentally hit him with another street sweeper and pinned Frosch between the two large vehicles. Police found him unconscious and lying on the ground with severe body trauma.

Steve Frosch (Photo courtesy of the DSNY)

Steven Frosch (Photo courtesy of the DSNY)

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

To honor Frosch for his dedication to the department, his work garage, Queens West 5A in Maspeth, was named after him on Wednesday.

Frosch had been with the sanitation department for 15 years before the tragic accident took his life.

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City issues season’s first snow alert


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/NYC Sanitation

Winter may still be more than a month away, but the city’s Department of Sanitation has already issued its first snow alert of the season.

The alert begins at 8 p.m. on Thursday, and the department has its salt spreaders ready to go in case of bad weather.

With temperatures hovering in the mid-30s, however, the forecast is only calling for the possibility of less than half an inch of snow overnight. Rain is mainly expected to fall, and taper off by Friday morning.

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The Doe Fund to help clean more Astoria streets


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano

More Astoria streets are getting cleaner thanks to the “men in blue.”

After hearing positive feedback from residents and business owners, The Doe Fund, which was initially brought to the western Queens neighborhood in April, will now expand street sweeping services to Steinway Street, Newtown Road, Ditmars Boulevard and 23rd Avenue, Councilman Costa Constantinides announced Thursday.

“This will be a boon to residents and small business owners across Astoria. The ‘men in blue’ will continue to provide reinforcements and additional resources to help keep Astoria clean,” said Constantinides, who has allocated over $130,000 for street sweeping by The Doe Fund as part of the new city-wide initiative Clean NYC.

The nonprofit organization, which employs recently homeless or formerly incarcerated people as part of its Ready, Willing, and Able transitional work program, was keeping the sidewalks clean and clearing the corner trash cans along 30th Avenue, Broadway and 31st Street.

“This program will increase the quality of life in Astoria, that’s the most important. Clean the street, find new jobs and community come together to be concerned about the quality of life,” said Ahmed Jamil, president of the Muslim American Society. “At the end of the day [before] you [saw] the garbage on the streets and you now don’t see it anymore.”

Although the Department of Sanitation collects trash from corner trash cans once per day in Astoria, the expansion of The Doe Fund helps alleviate the trash and littered streets which have previously caused problems in the neighborhood, such as sidewalk accessibility and shopping issues, according to Constantinides.

“The Doe Fund, combined with community street and graffiti clean-ups, will continue to make a difference in our district and across the city,” said Constantinides, who has also allocated $30,000 in funding for graffiti removal services. “Clean streets and buildings make our neighborhood more enjoyable and inviting—a win for everyone.”

 

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Activist dishes dirt on Jamaica garbage


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Joe

JANAE HUNTER

When Joe Moretti moved to Jamaica, Queens, back in November of 2010, New York City was about to experience one of the worst blizzards in its history. As more than a foot of snow covered the streets and sidewalks of his new neighborhood, Moretti was unable to see what really lay beneath. It wasn’t until the snow started melting months later when he saw that the piles of snow covered up piles of garbage.

“There was a vacant lot next to my building that always had a bunch of garbage all over the sidewalks around it and people would keep putting more. I started taking pictures and sending them to the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) and 3-1-1 because I wanted it cleaned up,” said Moretti, who has now been living in Jamaica for almost four years. “As I started walking all around Jamaica, I kept seeing more and more garbage, so more pictures and more reporting to the [DSNY].”

Moretti even took to YouTube, and posted music videos about it. While the videos garnered some media attention, Moretti wanted to get even more attention on the problem.

“I thought, ‘How can I crank this up some notches?’” Moretti said.

And that is when “Clean Up Jamaica Queens” was born. “Clean Up Jamaica Queens” is a blog Moretti started in 2013 to highlight the worst problems in the area: garbage strewn in to vacant lots, sidewalks and streets. He uses harsh language and writes in a tone that many might find offensive, but at the end of the day, he gets his point across.

“That has helped to bring attention to this major problem in Jamaica. Everyone is now talking about the garbage problem, whether they are offended by what I say or not. People are starting to do something. At the end of the day we all want the same thing: a cleaner, safer and better community, I just happen to do it in a loud and different way,” Moretti said.

He posts pictures that he takes around the neighborhood and writes a few choice words for some of Jamaica’s elected officials.

“Our leaders have been completely useless on this issue and have failed to do anything. They need to make sure that all the laws on the books such as littering, uncovered garbage cans and household garbage in public garbage cans are enforced,” he said. “People here feel they can do whatever they want because there are no consequences. It truly is the Wild Wild West of Queens.”

The blog is not all negative though. While its main focus is to bring attention to Jamaica’s garbage problem, Moretti also takes the time to talk about the good.

“The best thing [about Jamaica] would be the inside of the former Loews Valencia Wonder Theater (now the Tabernacle of Prayer Church) on Jamaica Avenue, which is completely intact and the only one in NYC that has been preserved. It is one of the most beautiful places you will ever see,” said Moretti. “The homes in the Addesleigh Park section of Jamaica are also gorgeous. At one time many of the jazz greats lived there back in the days. People think Jamaica is all crap, but there are some beautiful homes here and especially in that section.”

In recent months, there have been plans to revitalize and beautify Jamaica. Earlier this month, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz revealed plans to install dozens of light posts along Jamaica Avenue to encourage nightlife. The Sutphin Boulevard Improvement District plans to replace awnings in front of businesses, and a new department store on Jamaica Avenue is in the works. All of these changes are great, Moretti said, but pointless if the trash issue is not handled first.

“If you are not going to clean up the area and take care of the garbage problem, all those things are just the equivalent of putting lipstick on a pig. I mean, what good does it do to put new signs or awnings up, when the community is filled with garbage?

How about cleaning it up first?” Moretti said.

As long as he continues to live in Jamaica, Moretti said he will continue to post on his blog and continue to shine light on the problems.

“There is this bizarre part of me that gets off in taking on the powers to be here in Jamaica. It’s an adrenaline rush,” said Moretti. “Will it ever be what it once was? Probably not. But it can be great in a different way.”

 

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Assemblyman Braunstein to introduce law to ban fake clothing drop-off bins


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre


Assemblyman Ed Braunstein is planning to introduce legislation to clean up clothing drop-off bins of businesses that masquerade as nonprofit organizations.

Under the bill, clothing bins that are not operated by organizations recognized as proper nonprofits by the IRS will be banned and the city will be able to remove the bins immediately. First-time offenders will be fined $250, and then $500 for every additional one during a calendar year.

Recently, there has been an explosion in bins all over the city, according to published reports. Bin owners collect donated clothes and sell them to thrift stores, using what should be donations for income, the assemblyman said.

“Enough is enough. It is time we remove these bins from our streets and ensure that these fake charities no longer benefit from their deceptive actions,” Braunstein said.

Currently, all clothing bins are banned in the city on public property. The Department of Sanitation places notices on the bins, giving operators 30 days to remove them. But organizations simply remove the notices and move the bins to other locations, the assemblyman and local leaders said.

“But if you’re parked illegally [the city] has no problem towing your car that day,” said Devon O’Connor, president of the Welcome to Whitestone Civic Association.

Besides hiding under the false pretense of a nonprofit company, residents have complained that the bins attract graffiti and are eyesores in the community.

Community Board 11, which represents Bayside, Douglaston and Oakland Gardens, has received numerous complaints of nearly a dozen bins around the community, which range in colors from a stark pink to black.

“It’s just a scheme for some crooked people to make money and it’s a horror story,” said Andy Rothman, a Bayside resident. “They shouldn’t be anywhere in New York City or New York State.”

Calls to Our Neighborhood Recycling, which owns a few bins in Bayside, were not returned.

 

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‘Eyesore’ no more; Coleman Square to get more garbage pickups


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

 SALVATORE LICATA

Updated Thursday, June 12, 11:50 a.m.

The Department of Sanitation said it will improve clean-up efforts at the Coleman Square Station in response to a letter from a politician describing the square as an “eyesore.”

The collection of garbage will increase from two days a week to three and there will be an additional litter basket added to the area in order to improve conditions at the transportation hub, according to Kathy Dawkins, a spokeswoman for DSNY.

“After careful consideration, Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia has approved an additional litter basket collection for the Coleman Square Station in Howard Beach,” Dawkins said.

Along with the additional pickups, DSNY said it will monitor the area making sure efforts are correcting the condition.

Assemblyman Philip Goldfeder said in his letter that conditions at Coleman Square presented a public health concern because overflowing garbage was attracting birds and rats who feed on the trash.

“I applaud the Department of Sanitation for their quick response to my letter and for their immediate action to keep our community clean,” he said.

 

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Goldfeder demands cleanup of Howard Beach ‘eyesore’


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

SALVATORE LICATA

Garbage bags, cigarette butts and an overflowing trash can greet commuters and locals in Coleman Square every day, charged a politician who is demanding a cleanup of the area.

Given the large volume of people passing through the Howard Beach square to jump on the A train, garbage pick-up and removal has become a major issue surrounding the two-block square, Assemblyman Philip Goldfeder said.

“There are simply not enough trash cans or a reliable pick-up schedule to accommodate the volume of litter that is produced in this area,” Goldfeder said. “The Coleman Square Station constantly remains an eyesore for our community.”

Goldfeder has sent a letter to the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY), requesting that there be additional trash cans added to the area along with more frequent garbage pick-ups in an effort to clean up the mess that has plagued the square.

The square currently has just one DSNY trash can which is constantly overflowing with garbage. It is common to see empty bottles and littered papers blowing right by the memorial war shrines that are set up in the square.

“It is the obligation of the Sanitation Department to provide more cans and more frequent pick-ups to support the volume of traffic at Coleman Square,” Goldfeder said. “Our families deserve to live in a community where they can comfortably enjoy the summer weather outdoors without being surrounded by unsightly garbage.”

Goldfeder is waiting for a response from the DSNY, which did not immediately return a call for comment.

 

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More snow on the way for Sunday


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

Updated 5:00 p.m.

 

Ol’ man winter isn’t done just yet.

The National Weather Service (NWS) forecast snow from 2 to 4 inches, starting from this evening and continuing through Monday as temperatures drop to the 20s.

The NWS warned that the snow will bring hazardous travel due to reduced visibility and slippery roads, “especially during the Monday morning commute.”

The Department of Transportation suspended alternate side parking for Monday to help with snow removal. However, parking meters remain in effect.

In preparation for inclement weather, the city’s Department of Sanitation has issued a “snow alert,” starting at 11 a.m. The agency said its plows and spreaders will be ready.

To track the progress of DSNY clearing operations throughout the five boroughs, click here.

 

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Forest Hills restaurant files claim demanding city pay for damage done by snow plow


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo and video courtesy of Exo Cafe

A Forest Hills restaurant that suffered thousands of dollars in damage from a Department of Sanitation plow truck accident wants the city to pay for the repairs.

Customers were sitting in Exo Cafe, at 70-20 Austin St., about 10:55 p.m. on Feb. 13 when the city snow plow struck a garbage can full of snow ice, which then hit the restaurant, police said.

The accident damaged the eatery’s winter vestibule and shattered some of its windows, according to the establishment’s owners, who captured the incident on their surveillance video.

A 36-year-old man and a 27-year-old woman were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, police said.

The restaurant was able to quickly clean up the mess and resume regular business, but still needs money to repair the nearly $50,000 in destruction, said owner Peter Kambitsis.

Though Exo Cafe has filed a claim through its own insurance, Kambitsis believes the city is financially responsible.

“Why should we go through our insurance when they have their insurance,” Kambitsis asked.

Kambitsis said he filed a claim with the City Comptroller’s Office on Feb. 18. Since then, representatives from the city have come to the restaurant to examine the structural damage.

As of Monday, he is still waiting to see when or if he will be reimbursed.

A spokesperson for the Comptroller’s Office said the claim was still under review.

The Department of Sanitation conducted an investigation into the accident and said it “is taking disciplinary action against the operators of the equipment.”

 

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VIDEO: NYC plow truck sends trash can of snow, ice into Forest Hills restaurant


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video and photos courtesy of Elias Kalogiros/Exo Cafe

Updated Monday, Feb. 17, 12:00 p.m.

Several customers were injured after a New York City Department of Sanitation plow truck sent a trash can of snow and ice into a Forest Hills restaurant Thursday night.

Diners were sitting in Exo Cafe, at 70-20 Austin St., about 10:55 p.m. when the accident damaged the restaurant’s winter vestibule and  shattered some of its windows, according to Elias Kalogiros, the establishment’s owner.

Police said the city plow truck hit the garbage can, which then struck the vestibule.

A 36-year-old man and a 27-year-old woman were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, according to the NYPD.

“We were really upset about what happened. We thought it was complete negligence,” Kalogiros said.

“If somebody was standing inside of the vestibule…they would have got hurt or even died.”

The truck driver, who said he didn’t know what had happened, kept going, but was flagged down, according to Kalogiros.

Kalogiros wasn’t at the restaurant at the time of the incident, but was able to see it later through surveillance video.

“It looked from the video that [the plow truck] was reckless,” he said.

In a statement, the Department of Sanitation said it conducted an investigation into the accident and “is taking disciplinary action against the operators of the equipment.”

 

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Mayor Bill de Blasio welcomes city to 2014 winter storm number six


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

Updated 9:15 p.m.

A state of emergency has been declared as the Nor’Easter storm targets the five boroughs.

“Welcome to winter storm number six of the last six weeks,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

De Blasio said the snow has come down “heavier and faster than the weather service had predicted last night.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency Thursday morning “so that we can continue to effectively respond to the storm and aid communities in need.”

Cuomo said the state is adequately prepared with salt supplies, and said snow is expected to fall throughout the day at two to three inches per hour.

Ten to 14 inches are expected by tonight, de Blasio said, but could be affected by a mix of freezing rain and sleet.

The mayor continued to urge drivers to stay off the road, and said mass transit is the best option.

For the Friday morning rush hour, the MTA expects to run normal subway service, but some express service may run local because of track conditions, the transit agency said. Buses should run at 80 percent capacity.

The Long Island Rail Road plans to operate at 90 percent of its normal weekday schedule, and is canceling 14 morning rush hour trains.

The Department of Sanitation pre-treated roads and began salting roadways at 3 a.m. Thursday morning. “Extra efforts” were made to address tertiary roads as well, de Blasio said.

To track plowing progress, click here.

Alternate side parking regulations and garbage and recycling pick-up is suspended through Saturday. De Blasio said trash pick-up won’t be “in earnest” until Tuesday.

To check the city’s progress or sign up for regular alerts, click here.

With additional reporting by Cristabelle Tumola

 

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NYC public schools will be open Thursday


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File Photo

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña has announced the Department of Education will keep all public schools open Thursday, as the Big Apple expects another round of snow.

All school field trips will be canceled Fariña said Wednesday night. Families with busing questions are asked to call 718-392-8855.

As always, parents should exercise their own judgment with regard to their children, the schools chancellor said in a statement. “Safety is a top priority for the department.”

Public schools have only closed once on Jan. 3, during the year’s first major snowstorm. They were kept open during the Jan. 22 storm which left the city with almost a foot of snow. Schools were also kept opened during a Feb. 5 storm that brought icy conditions.

The National Weather Service (NWS) forecasted 8 to 12 inches of heavy, wet snow through Friday morning. A Winter Storm Warning will be in effect from midnight tonight until 6 a.m. Friday.

Wednesday afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo directed state agencies to prepare for the impending Nor’easter winter storm.

Snow will develop around 3 a.m., and continue throughout the day before tapering off about 24 hours later. During the day, with temperatures hovering around the mid-30s, there will be a mixture of snow, sleet and rain, according to the NWS.

 

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Snow again: Winter storm to strike city Thursday


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

Updated 6:10 p.m.

Get ready for some more snow.

The National Weather Service (NWS) forecasted 8 to 12 inches of heavy, wet snow through Friday morning. A Winter Storm Warning will be in effect from midnight tonight until 6 a.m. Friday.

Wednesday afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo directed state agencies to prepare for the impending Nor’easter winter storm.

This one will bring a mix of snow, sleet and rain as well as windy conditions, according to the NWS.

““I have again directed state agencies to prepare and coordinate resources for the Nor’easter that is forecasted for late tonight and into Thursday,” Cuomo said. “As we have done in previous storms this season, the State is directing necessary resources to the areas in greatest need, and we will be flexible in our ability to redirect equipment and personnel as the storm reaches the state.”

Snow will develop around 3 a.m., and continue throughout the day before tapering off about 24 hours later. During the day, with temperatures hovering around the mid-30s, there will be a mixture of snow, sleet and rain, according to the NWS. Winds will be 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph during the storm.

Subways plan to operate on normal weekday schedule during the morning rush hour. The LIRR is developing service plans for the coming storm, and may offer extra afternoon service. To track developments, click here.

Buses may reduce service by up to 20 percent if conditions warrant. Alternate side parking regulations are suspended through Saturday, but meters remain in effect.

In preparation of the inclement weather, the city’s Department of Sanitation has issued a “snow alert,” starting at 1 a.m. Thursday. It said its plows and spreader will be ready, but trash and recycling pickups will need to be delayed during its snow operations.

To track the progress of DSNY clearing operations throughout the five boroughs, click here.

 

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Another round of snow, plus sleet, freezing rain target city


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

Updated 3:35 p.m.

For the second time this week, the city is experiencing a bout of nasty winter weather.

After a Monday storm dropped eight inches of flakes in the borough, a system that hit late Tuesday night brought snow as well as sleet and freezing rain.

Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency Wednesday morning, saying that localities in New York City and on Long Island have reported salt shortages. He said that 3,500 tons of the state’s supply of salt will be sent to those communities.

To expedite the salt deliveries, Cuomo said the DOT has waived federal restrictions on hours for salt truck drivers, and the MTA has waived weight restrictions on bridges.

At a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, however, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city has the salt resources for this storm and for the next storm as it is projected.

De Blasio said the city is experiencing a blood shortage and encouraged New Yorkers to donate by calling 800-933-Blood or visiting www.nybloodcenter.org. He said he is planning to donate blood.

At the press conference he applauded city agencies’ response to the recent winter storms as well as New Yorkers’ toughness.

“This is a city that is no stranger to adversary,” the mayor said.

“Nobody likes days like today, but nobody handles days like today better than New Yorkers,” he added.

winter storm warning is in effect through 6 p.m. Wednesday, with three to five inches of snow predicted as well as about one quarter of an inch of ice, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

The snow, which started Tuesday night, changed over to a mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain by early Wednesday morning and eventually to just freezing rain. NWS reported 4 inches of snow in Central Park by 5 a.m. and 2.4 inches at LaGuardia Airport by 7:00 a.m.

The precipitation should taper off by tonight. Highs Wednesday will be in the low 30s.

Alternate side parking is suspended on Wednesday and Thursday to facilitate snow removal, but meters will still be in effect. Gar

The Department of Sanitation issued a ‘snow alert’ starting at 10 p.m. Tuesday and will be deploying its snow fighting equipment as needed.

To track the progress of DSNY clearing operations throughout the five boroughs, click here.

Garbage and recycling collection is canceled Wednesday, but should begin tomorrow.

A “hazardous travel advisory” is also in effect for the area Wednesday, the New York City Office of Emergency Management said.

At 8 a.m. Cuomo announced a ban on both commercial and passenger vehicles on Interstate 84 between the Pennsylvania and Connecticut borders, but lifted it by 2:20 p.m.

The mayor warned urged city residents Wednesday to use mass transit when possible and to leave extra travel time.

During the evening rush hour, the city’s subways and Long Island Rail Road will operate on normal schedules, the MTA said.

Buses will run at 85 to 90 percent capacity, but some detours, delays and suspensions are possible on a route-by-route basis.

As the rush hour winds down, subways will be stored underground on express tracks, and, as a result, express service on portions of some lines will be curtailed after rush hour, the MTA said. Subway customers should anticipate some weather-related delays

Fastrack maintenance has been canceled on the A and C lines in Brooklyn for the rest of the week.

The Metro-North Railroad will operate 75 percent of its normal evening rush hour schedule across all lines, and some local and express trains will be combined and will make additional stops, the MTA said.

Beginning at 9 p.m., Metro-North will go to hourly service for the remainder of the day.  On Thursday morning, it should operate at normal AM peak service.

The storm is causing few disruptions for the city’s public schools. Chancellor Carmen Farina announced early this morning that schools are open Wednesday. All field trips are canceled, but after-school activities and PSAL activties are continuing as scheduled.

Farina said, as of about 11:30 a.m., schools were reporting 60 percent attendance.

“We knew today that we could operate them safely and effectively,” de Blasio said about the decision to keep schools open.

But students could get another chance for a snow day on Monday. More snow is expected on Sunday.

Despite the constant storms, however, not everyone is tired of the weather.

“This is how winter weather is supposed to be. For me, it beats the heat and humidity, Jackson Heights resident Kimberly Rene Oser said.

I love this year’s weather. It’s winter, said Monika Slominska. “The only minus is, I have no driveway, therefore it’s difficult to find a parking spot with all the snow around.

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Get a closer look at the city’s snow clearing budget


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Updated Wednesday, Feb. 5, 10:00 a.m.

The Department of Sanitation (DSNY) spends millions of dollars on salt each year to keep the city’s drivers from slipping and sliding.

Millions more are spent in overtime for the men and women who clear the city’s roads.

The DSNY’s current budget for the 2013-2014 snow season is $57.3 million, and is spent on salt, vehicle and equipment parts, maintenance, cleaning, plows and motor vehicle fuel, according to a department spokesperson.

The 2011-2012 budget was $51.7 million. Each year’s budget is calculated by averaging the snow budget of the past five years, excluding the most recent year.

“I don’t have the most up-to-date figures, but I can say we’re within the parameters of what’s budgeted. We’ll see how it goes from here.”  Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference Tuesday.

DSNY Commissioner John Doherty, in an interview with Good Day New York Wednesday morning, said the department would “no doubt” exceed its budget this year. The budget, however, doesn’t dictate how DSNY operates, he added.

Every snow season, the DSNY starts with approximately 250,000 tons of rock salt, the department spokesperson said. This year it cost the city about $13.4 million.

But with three major snowfalls already this season, that amount is gone, according to the spokesperson. The DSNY, however, “can replenish the supply at any time.”

Though the amount is likely to go up, more salt has been used in past years, according to city statistics.

For fiscal year 2011, 61.5 inches of snow fell, and 353,769 tons of salt was utilized.

During that period, $62.4 million was spent on snow overtime. When deployed to clear snow and ice, DNSY employees are on special 12-hour shifts.

Last season, 24 inches of snow fell and 183,597 tons of salt were utilized, with over $16 million in overtime, according to a DSNY performance report.

 

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