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Opposition Voiced to Changing Trash Pick-up for Multi-Family Houses

Both the town's Health Department and the Board of Health have received comments from both the owners of multi-family houses and the owners of single family-homes located near them, voicing their opposition to the idea of eliminating curbside trash pick-up for multi-family houses having more than three units in each building.

Four owners of multi-family buildings spoke out at the board's September 9 meeting. Public Health Officer Paul Mazzuchelli – at the same meeting – said neighbors of multi-families have been calling his office to say they didn't want smelly dumpsters located near their houses.

There are 1,152 apartments in town located within multi-family houses having more than three units in each building, Mazzuchelli said at the August 5 health board meeting. Officials from Republic Services – the firm contracted by the town to pick-up and dispose of curbside trash and recyclables – came to that meeting to discuss possibly changing the way its picks up the items. During that discussion, Republic Services' officials noted that Milford was the only municipality it serves to still provide such town-funded pick-up and disposal services for what may be considered commercial ventures.

"That's all it was – a passing thought," Mazzuchelli told the four owners attending the board's September 9 meeting. "When you have something for 41 years, it's tough to take it away," he added.

Before deciding whether to make a change, the town will have to study all the issues involved, Mazzuchelli explained. For example, he said that while eliminating the three-plus multi-families might save the town money in terms having less tonnage to dispose of, the change could cause problems such as placing dumpsters near single-family homes. "These are all concerns that the Board of Health has to weigh," Mazzuchelli said

Multi-family owner David Claro, who owns properties on Jefferson St. and Franklin St., said putting dumpsters on his properties could cause neighboring homes to lose property values and would reduce the space available for off-street parking. Multi-family owners earning less income due to the cost of the dumpsters could ask for property tax abatements, resulting in less revenue for the town, his brother, Tony Claro said. He added that some landlords might raise their rents to cover the costs of the dumpsters.

Dave Genoa, who owns property on Central St., said multi-family property values could decline due to the added expense. "It brings the values down. Three hundred bucks a month will bring the value down $40,000 in today's market," he said. Genoa agreed with Tony Claro that some landlords might raise their rents to recoup the added costs.

Another multi-family owner, Michael McIsaac, said he routinely puts portions of his rental income back into his properties on Grove St. and Taylor St. to improve them, with the cost of dumpster disposal meaning less money for improvements. And, out-of-town landlords could try to save money by emptying their dumpsters infrequently, which would then cause odor problems, he added.

Mazzuchelli noted that the town has worked very hard over the past five years to inspect apartments and see that multi-family buildings are kept up to code. The town doesn't want "blight" to come back, he added.

Another issue to consider is how many of the buildings in question are owner-occupied and how many are owned by Milford residents, the health agent commented. He distributed a list of 116 buildings, with 81 of them – 70 percent – being owned by people living in Milford. "We see the majority are from Milford," he commented.

He thanked the four owners for attending the meeting by saying "Thanks for the insights."




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