Residents in a devastated section of Port Monmouth say they have been living with the demoralizing sight of post-Sandy debris and regular trash outside their homes for weeks, and its becoming a public sanitation concern.
But township officials say their streets have been serviced. It's just that as soon as they are cleared, more garbage finds its way out to the curb.
"We've been waiting for them to pick up the trash for weeks, but they don't come back," said Robert Androvette, on Lydia Place. Outside his house was several full garbage cans neatly lined up at the curb, as well as a huge pile of waterlogged furniture and carpet from the flooded crawl space. "It's still keeping us in a 'stuck' state of mind. We just want to see it gone."
In response to residents' complaints about bulk and household trash pickup in Port Monmouth on Monday morning, Mayor Tony Fiore reached out to DPW Director Joseph E. “Ted” Maloney, who said that specialized carrier Ashbritt Inc. has already made the rounds "at least twice" for construction and household materials. Also, Bennett and Sutton Trucking are supposed to perform bulk collections for things like furniture twice a week, on regularly scheduled trash pickup days. Contracts for the specialized work was approved in a government meeting on Nov. 15.
But locals say they've seen no trucks.
"I've been looking at the same pile, from a gutted house, on Renfrew and Brainard for two and a half weeks," said Bill Young of Brainard Avenue.
"We need it picked up so we can look a little normal around here," Young said. "We've got scavengers coming through at night, people picking up stuff out of your garbage."
Around the corner, Frank DeLello of Renfrew Place said that when he gets up around 4 o'clock in the morning, he sees rodents and possum rooting through the piled-up trash and food that was left to rot in an abandoned refrigerator. In some cases, trash is seeping through garbage bags folks had to turn to because their cans washed away.
"We'd like to see it gone, as soon as possible," said DeLello. "They've got to clear this. I pay a lot of taxes."
John Geurtse of Wilson Avenue, who was out walking his pit bull on the local streets, said he has had to be especially careful to keep away from the broken glass and tiles strewn about. He wondered why the trash and debris was still around, weeks later. "Maybe it's time people have to start thinking about getting Dumpsters?" he said.
Mayor Fiore said one need only take in the stunning sight of the mountain of debris at the Middletown Township Fire Department Training Academy on Normany Road to realize how much has been collected.
"I know I've been talking with DPW, and that more and more garbage and debris gets put out everyday," said Fiore. "You make some progress, and the next day the pile is high at the curb again."
He added, "I know it’s been a very challenging and frustrating time and we’ll consider seeing if more needs to be done there."
The mayor expected to be in the neighborhood around 3 p.m., when Gov. Chris Christie is scheduled to give a press conference at the Port Monmouth Firehouse.