Addressing Illegal Dumping, Cleaning Up the Streets, and Beautifying Trenton
Illegal dumping has long been a serious and pervasive problem in Trenton, with vacant and abandoned properties the most common sites we see littered with garbage and uncollected waste including discarded appliances, furniture, tires and more. In fact, neglected public spaces, vacant and blighted buildings and lots can contribute to peoples’ sense that they have permission to dump in that neighborhood.
Addressing this quality of life issue will require a profound change in the way City Hall thinks and works. My administration will be proactive, rather than reactive. Instead of simply attempting to respond to every complaint in isolation, we will employ a comprehensive approach to ensure that as we address current issues of trash, dumping, and disrepair, we are also implementing tactics that will reduce and prevent continued offenses.
I intend to launch a web and phone-based 3-1-1 system for quality of life complaints and general information. These self-service systems allow residents to far more easily initiate complaints, to send both messages and photographs, and make City Hall available on a 24-7 schedule. This centralized process for interacting with City Hall will mean that residents won’t need to guess which department to turn to. Complaints can be immediately routed to the responsible party, improving the quality and consistency of service while reducing costs.
A 3-1-1 system will allow us to identify the geographical sites in the City most prone to dumping, and other types of disrepair. By ‘hot-spotting,’ we can target enforcement of ordinances and laws by the Inspections and Police departments, and aggressively pursue fines and other penalties.
I will work to foster inter-departmental communication in developing work plans, set maintenance priorities for each neighborhood and ensure that they are incorporated into the City budget. Wherever possible, my administration will focus on low-cost interventions that have a demonstrated record of success in other communities, such as installing solar powered, LED lights, and setting up bollards to prevent truck access to dumping sites.
As we create a new, visible norm of neighborhood pride, we send a message that dumping and neglect will not be tolerated. By holding negligent landlords accountable, we will ensure that properties are habitable and well maintained. Working together to make our City attractive for our residents, we can spur new investment by both current owners and new investors, thereby increasing property values and our tax base.
Most importantly, however, as Mayor, I will set high expectations for members of my cabinet. Just as we speak of police officers walking the beat and getting to know the community, it is equally important that elected officials and department leaders are familiar with the people and neighborhoods we serve.