Paterson business owners claim that reduction in trash pickup is causing increase in rats

The city of Paterson recently changed its trash collection schedule, but it has a few business owners complaining that the change is causing an increase in the rat population.
The trash collection dropped from six days per week to two in the downtown area. That’s the same as residential areas.
However, for restaurants and markets along Main Streets that generate a lot of waste, it will mean a major transition and for some a hardship.
One of those restaurants is Al-Kumah Restaurant along Main Street.
“I actually pay for an extra dumpster because I have nowhere to put it and I don’t want to just throw everything in front of my restaurant,” says owner Abdullah Rahmoun.
When asked if he could handle two days of trash pick up he said, “I would rather them come seven…I think it’s a really important priority to make the area look clean and not just have trash bags laying around.”
The change from six to two days started on Jan. 2. Some of these businesses say they’re already seeing an increase in rats because of trash being left outside longer.
But the mayor of Paterson tells News 12 New Jersey there is no rat problem in Paterson and no one has logged any complaints.
“If there was a credible issue with the rats our Division of Health would be ready our Division of Public Works would be ready as well to offer assistance,” says Mayor Andre Sayegh
“Making this switch which will save us $200,000 a month and we’re a cash-strapped city. We’re going to have parity.”
But Rahmoun says he is worried that if they don’t get another day or two of trash pickup, there may be more rats.
“I definitely think if they take it two times a week rather than six, we’ll be seeing a lot more,” Rahmoun says.
Sayegh says anyone who is having an issue with rats should contact City Hall for help. He also says he’s in talks with the Special Improvement District to help businesses offset any issue with trash.