Part 2 of a series of articles about the Oceanside Sanitary District #7.
Hempstead town officials say that it costs more to collect garbage in Oceanside than in the remainder of the sanitary districts in the town – nearly five percent more.
Sanitary District 7 in Oceanside, one of two districts in the Town of Hempstead that does not receive sanitation services from the town itself, serves 13,000 households in Oceanside and small portions of Baldwin and East Rockaway. It also serves 950 commercial businesses and has an annual budget of about $8.65 million.
Sanitary Board members are paid $7,500 a year and receive medical benefits. According to Hempstead Town officials, the average Oceanside homeowner pays about $600 in district taxes each year.
Of that $8.65 million budget, a little more than half, $4.6 million goes for salaries and wages, commissioner compensation and various professional services, such as legal and audit fees.
Another $216, 500 goes for equipment and vehicles.
Why does it cost more to collect garbage in Oceanside?
Dan Gatto says that it’s because of the bloated salaries paid to those at the top, those who run the district for the elected five-member board.
“There is a ridiculous salary schedule in Sanitary Distrct 7,” said Gatto, who is the president of Local 854 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the union that represents the district’s workers and who has to negotiate with the board. “The board says it has no money for the workers who actually pick up the garbage, but they have plenty for the people at the top.”
Gatto said that the workers have been without a contract since 2010 and that he cannot get the board to provide a fair contract.
“They have made two offers, both of them unacceptable to the men,” Gatto said. “While the people at the top make a lot of money, the workers at the low end make less than the sanitation workers in other districts in the town – much less.”
The union has had two fact-finding meetings and went to an arbitrator. They are awaiting the arbitrator’s report before going back to the district board for a third try.