As the City Council began its preliminary budget hearings, member of the Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management, Councilman Fernando Cabrera criticized the deployment of sanitation workers throughout the five boroughs.
The lawmaker explained that the Bronx has more tonnage of garbage than the other boroughs and it is the only place that sanitation has to make two trips to New Jersey. Additionally, what makes the job more challenging is the fact that many buildings in Manhattan are close to each other, while those in the Bronx are further apart.
Cabrera noted this is not a new problem, but one that has become evident due to the pandemic. He pointed out that numbers don’t lie. Each borough has the following number of sanitation workers:
- Bronx: 764
- Brooklyn: 1,704
- Manhattan: 1,137
- Staten Island: 105
- Queens: 1,651
“What we’re seeing is a textbook case of inequality and discrimination in providing city services,” Cabrera said. “How is it that the Bronx, with 1.4 million people, which is 87% of the population of Manhattan, gets only 67% of the number of sanitation workers assigned to Manhattan? Compared to Brooklyn, with 2.25 million people and 1,704 sanitation workers, the Bronx, with 55% of Brooklyn’s population has only 764 sanitation workers deployed- 45% of the number deployed to Brooklyn.”
Cabrera noted again it seems like the Bronx is the forgotten stepchild. After receiving just 1 % of the COVID-19 relief loans from the city and less than 10,000 businesses received the federal Paycheck Protection Program, it seems like the borough is getting the short end of the stick again.
The councilman noted that even if money is an issue there still needs to be an equitable amount of workers in the Bronx. The sanitation commissioner will address these concerns at the next meeting in April.
“At a time when we are looking for savings and striving to be a more sustainable city, this makes no sense,” Cabrera said. “The events of last year have made it impossible for us to hide from the realities of inequality and racism any longer. We’ve begun budget deliberations in the City Council for Fiscal Year 2022, and this is the time to make corrections. The budget is a clear reflection of our commitment to equality and equitable allocation of services. I will be looking for and voting for both.”