YORKTOWN, N.Y.-It’s been tough sledding for the town’s new residential trash hauler, AAA Carting, which has been affected by snowstorms, road closures and altered holiday schedules during its first two weeks on the job.
Although Kim Gage, the town’s recycling and refuse coordinator, has said AAA performed admirably under these adverse conditions, Supervisor Ilan Gilbert said his office has been inundated with phone calls from residents upset over the delay in garbage collections. He said he even received complaints that AAA employees have used foul language when dealing with residents.
“In this cold weather, passions can still get heated,” Gilbert said.
Even though they are employees of AAA, Gilbert said, they represent Yorktown and there is no place for untoward behavior. Gage said she agreed.
“I’ve said many times, people are very passionate about their garbage,” Gage said.
Pat Cartalemi Jr., owner of AAA Carting, disputed any suggestion that his company has not done a good job. He said all 14 employees from the previous contractor, Competition Carting, have been hired by AAA, so all garbage crews are familiar with the routes.
“Normally, when you start a new contract and you have new employees learning the routes, you have a bazillion misses,” Cartalemi said, referring to the number of homes whose garbage isn’t collected. “I think we had 15 to 20 in the whole town.”
Cartalemi also said he has not heard reports of or witnessed his employees using foul language toward residents.
“We had a disgruntled caller screaming at us. This was a gentlemen who had an issue with a can and he was a smidge irate,” Cartalemi said. “We don’t appreciate anyone cursing at the [office workers] and we try to treat everyone with the same respect.”
Two weeks ago, a AAA truck broke down in the middle of Route 202 near the southbound entrance ramp to the Taconic State Parkway. Councilman Tom Diana said the truck was there for hours, which created a problem for the Yorktown Police Department. Gage said the driver of the vehicle had difficulty finding a tower.
“That was a tough situation for everybody,” Gage said.
Despite the issues, Gage said AAA has “met the challenge and did a good job.” Cartalemi said he agreed.
“With the snow day and trucks breaking and things malfunctioning, we had a very good start,” Cartalemi said.
Gage, however, plans to review and resolve any issues sooner rather than later so they don’t “fester,” she said.
Town Attorney Michael J. McDermott said the contract with AAA requires it to meet quarterly with the Town Board; that meeting, McDermott suggested, should take place as soon as possible.
“I wholeheartedly agree,” Gilbert said.
AAA Carting was founded in 1994 and has residential garbage contracts with the town of Carmel, the village of Rye Brook and the town of Putnam Valley. The business also previous collected residential trash for the town of Southeast and the village of Pelham.