Cleaning up Baltimore seems to be a new idea of late. No one understands why there is so much illegal dumping and trash everywhere. Hearing the myriad complaints about trash, Mayor Brandon Scott is taking action and wants to start a new program in the northeast paying three community members to learn the ropes of cleaning up trash in their community with the promise of eventually become permanent Department of Public Works employees. And if it works, then make the project go citywide. This sounds like an excellent idea (”Cleaning up one neighborhood is good. Cleaning up all of Baltimore — while creating lots of jobs — is much better,” April 13).
However, Baltimore’s property tax rate is the highest in the state,, and city taxpayers are still paying for the services which, perhaps so no one would notice or remember, have been slowly reduced or eliminated. Not so very long ago we had two regular trash pickups per week, and recycling would be on one of those days picked up by a separate truck. We also had a once-a-month bulk trash pick up for each sector.
Like an onion, these services have been stripped away. Now we are down to one trash pickup per week and one recycling. Large families put a lot of regular trash into their recycling just to get rid of it, which impairs our recycling efforts. There is no bulk trash pick up at all, and getting rid of large items like old furniture is next to impossible for many city residents, so they get rid of it any way they can — by dumping it somewhere. And like a backed-up drain, you can ignore it for a minute, but eventually, it starts to stink. The drain has been backing up for about six years, long before COVID-19. We are starting to really stink.
What happened to all the DPW workers who were on the aforementioned teams? As there was no reduction of taxes, one wonders what happened to the money appropriated for these services? Did the funds finance some project of a previous mayor? Did they reduce the number of workers to afford the $10 million to buy trash cans back in 2015? Since COVID-19 seems to be the excuse for everything lately, did the DPW workers who were manning the trucks all get COVID? Did they ever recover? Are they still on the payroll? If they aren’t on the payroll, and we have vacancies, why aren’t we simply hiring more workers?
These are legitimate questions, as our taxes are still paying for services that used to keep our city relatively clean. But it is not clean now.
Georgia Corso, Baltimore
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