WILKES-BARRE — A large trash bin sitting in the parking lot across from Tony’s Market at Grove and Prospect streets has been full for more than a week, filled with garbage and, neighbors say, discarded meat.
The stench has attracted bugs and rodents, has kept residents from enjoying evenings on their porches and has cost them money to get rid of mice.
They also said the city has not responded to their complaints, a charge a city spokeswoman refuted later Tuesday.
Tony Tavarez, owner of the market, said the company that owns the trash bin hasn’t been around. When he called to have it removed, he was told the company is out of business. He said he called another company to remove the container, but nobody has showed up yet.
“I’m sick of it. I’m sick of the smell,” said Melvin Davis, who lives above the market. “I can’t even open a window.”
Alice Harris, who lives adjacent to the parking lot where the container sits, said she has “had to hire an exterminator there were so many mice around.”
Tavarez said he is aware of the stench and wants the garbage removed as soon as possible. He said he has owned the market for three years and wants to be a good neighbor, and he will continue to look for someone to get the container either removed or emptied.
But until the large bin, its contents and the smell are gone, Harris and Davis won’t be satisfied.
“I’m tired of swatting at those big, green flies,” Davis said. “I’ve seen the code enforcement guys from the city drive by, but they haven’t stopped. They don’t want to smell this.”
Tavarez said the company he rented the containers from is “Got Trash.” A sticker listed a phone number. The Times Leader called the number and a recording said it was “temporarily disconnected.”
Tavarez said he was told Got Trash is out of business.
Tavarez did hire another company from Olyphant that delivered a new container to the site Tuesday afternoon and was told the smelly one would be removed.
Harris said she and other neighbors have been complaining to the city’s health department for weeks with no response.
“I really don’t know how many times we’ve called the city, but we have called a lot,” Harris said. “They never responded. They drive by here all the time, but they have never stopped to talk to the neighbors.”
Harris said someone from the city left a message on her daughter’s phone and said they would be at the site Tuesday at noon.
“Nobody showed up,” Harris said.
However, the city tells a different story. City spokeswoman Liza Prokop said the health department told her they received only one complaint about the issue.
“And it came in late last week,” Prokop said. “A health inspector visited the property (Tuesday) morning and the business owner explained that the garbage business he was using went out of business, but he hired a new business and they will replace the Dumpster. A Notice to Abate will be issued.”
She also said the city health inspector was there last Thursday when the complaint first came in.
“He also spoke with the resident who made a complaint to let them know what the plan of action was. I believe the new dumpster is supposed to arrive at some point today from what the owners told the inspector.”
But the old one, filled with weeks-old garbage, remained on the site late Tuesday afternoon. Tavarez said he expected it to be removed soon.
Harris said she didn’t see a city official at the site, and she didn’t talk to anyone from the city.