Residents Question Inaction on Dump Sites Cleanup Requests
UPDATE (5/11): A dump site in the city of McAllen is no longer a concern for a resident.
Clean up crews arrived Thursday morning to remove an assortment of items dumped by violators near Najaira Hernandez’s home.
The city said it would be the home owner’s duty to clean the area, but they did it as a courtesy.
McAllen interim health director Aaron Salazar said treating each case as an independent investigation is still the best approach.
“Like I said yesterday, we can clean it up today and then by tomorrow we’ll have illegal dumping again. So, I’d rather do surveillance or put in the cameras and see if we can find these people that are illegally dumping in that area,” he said.
Hernandez said she was surprised with the results.
“This was very fast. We just spoke yesterday and today you called me and they came and had this taken care of,” she said.
The city said they’re going to install cameras in the area in hopes of identifying the dumpers.
The cost of the McAllen 311 mobile app is included in a software system that keeps track of work orders. It costs the city about $21,500 annually.
The city said only 25 of the illegal dump clean up requests were still unresolved as of May 7.
MCALLEN – Hidalgo County residents using a mobile application to submit illegal dumping complaints said their requests for cleanups are being ignored.
The city of McAllen rolled out the app McAllen 311 so residents can send service requests, but the status on many of them still shows they’re “in progress.”
So far, 51 illegal dump cleanup requests were submitted through the app. Some of them are two months old.
McAllen resident Najaira Hernandez said she submitted information late March. She said she got a visit from code enforcement in early April.
“That day she said she wants to have that taken care of already, but it’s already going to be May. Well, it’s already May, I’m sorry. We still see that and I don’t know what’s going on,” she said.
Hernandez said she made the request to have an area near her home cleared. A CHANNEL 5 NEWS crew found several used tires, an old car bumper, mattresses and brush feet away from where she said her children play.
“We’ve seen spiders, rats, snakes! And not only us, other neighbors around here also,” she said.
She said it was the last time she heard from the city.
We asked the city if residents’ calls are being ignored or if they currently have a backlog.
McAllen interim health director Aaron Salazar said each case needs an investigation before a cleanup can begin.
“We assess the area. We have options to put up a camera. We have a camera program where we can assess people that come and illegally dump, and that’s one way we try and get a citation out to them,” he said.
Hidalgo County Precinct 4 Constable Sgt. Andrew Perez said they arrested a man last week with the help of the program. He said violators could face serious penalties.
“From dumping some old furniture that you possibly don’t need, you can possibly get arrested and receive a citation up to $500,” he said.
Hernandez may have an entirely new issue on her hands.
The health director said the city must first determine if it’s the problem falls under their department or another agency.
“I do notice that’s closer to the boundary that could be the county. So we have to rely on the maps to see whose jurisdiction it belongs to. If it belongs to us, we’ll take care of it,” Salazar said.
Salazar said they’ll know by Thursday if the dumpsite is on city limits. If it’s not, he said Hernandez would have to file a new complaint with the county.
City officials said sensitive identification information, including Social Security numbers and dates of birth found in dumped trash can often lead to an arrest.
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