MANCHESTER, N.H. – Garbage collection will be returning to Gabrielle Street, at least for the near future.
On Tuesday, the Manchester Board of Aldermen voted unanimously through a voice vote to temporarily restart garbage collection to the private street after residents were notified on Dec. 31 that they would no longer be able to place trash in front of their homes.
Ward 8 Alderman Michael Porter brought the matter to the board, expressing concern over the plight of the residents on the street, which is located between South Willow Street and Manchester Memorial High School.
The homes built on the street became public residences in 1947, after time serving as barracks at Grenier Field Airbase.
Porter also expressed concern that the letter was issued by a municipal employee without consent of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen.
Although Porter acknowledged the possible liability issues for city employees performing services on a private street, he felt that any possible liability was vastly overshadowed by the needs of his ward’s constituents in this case, stating that the street’s residents have had uninterrupted refuse removal at their doorstep for the past 50 years.
“As Aldermen, we wear two hats: representing the needs of our constituents and representing the needs of the city. On this issue, I am going to fall squarely on the side of the constituents,” he said. “Yes, these are private ways. But when the City of Manchester has been collecting refuse regularly and uninterrupted for those 50 years, the city has implicitly accepted that service.”
Porter also noted that several residents of the street are elderly and have had difficulties moving their trash the added distance and that the new buildup of garbage may cause traffic issues.
Manchester Department of Public Works Director Kevin Sheppard told the board he is bound to follow the mandate of any decision of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, but his department cannot otherwise provide service to the 75-100 private streets in the city.
Sheppard expressed concern that complaints from residents of the street brought to his department were not immediately addressed, but also noted that it is city policy to not service private streets.
“I was disappointed to hear that phone calls were not being returned. I pride myself on returning phone calls and I enforce it on staff to return phone calls. I’m going to follow-up on that, number one,” said Sheppard. “Once we found out, we were forced to take action. Was I informed at the time? No I wasn’t. Do I support the decision? Yes, I do.”
Sheppard added that in the past, the Department of Public Works had stopped providing service to private streets if they discovered that they were providing service to private streets.
The return of trash collection on Gabrielle Street will continue at a minimum until the matter is discussed at the next Special Committee Meeting on Solid Waste Activities.