NAUGATUCK — Since he was a toddler, 51-year-old Jeffrey Saguta has battled diabetes, a disease that has left him in need of a new pancreas and kidney. Along the way, he has also battled Medicare policies that would have denied him the chance for the transplant he needed.
Now, as he waits for his new organs, he is battling the mounds of garbage that have piled up every week for 20 years on his property at 25 Porter Ave.
Residents of Caitlin Circle, a private road containing five homes with deeds stating they are ineligible for municipal services, have been dumping bags of trash on Saguta’s property on the corner of Porter Avenue. Animals rip into the bags, or they break, leaving Saguta, with his compromised immune system, to clean up the mess.
“Those diabetic doctors are going, ‘Are you out of your mind?'” said Saguta’s partner, 55-year-old Jack Notar, who lives in the same house and said the garbage frustrates him, too.
Saguta and Notar said residents of four of the houses on Caitlin Circle leave large bags on the corner during the day on Sunday for Monday pickup, and the borough trash truck does collect them. This has been going on since Saguta and Notar moved in two decades ago, they said.
The pair said neighbors confront them when the bags break and trash blows everywhere. Sometimes black bags of recyclables from Caitlin Circle are left behind because they were not placed in a borough-issued bin.
“Once it’s out there, it becomes our problem if the recycling doesn’t take it,” Saguta said.
Saguta and Notar have moved the bags off their property, only to have police respond to a call that someone is dumping on Caitlin Circle. Porter Avenue is too narrow for them to move the trash farther into the road.
Raw food, crushed under tires, and broken glass have been left on the property, the owners said. Notar dug up and moved the mailbox and newspaper chute because they were blocked by garbage bags and the house was not receiving mail on Mondays.
“Where does it say in our deed that we are the garbage collectors of Caitlin Circle?” Saguta said.
Saguta and Notar have gone before the street commission a few times this year about the problem, which has not yet been resolved.
Sheila Baummer, the borough’s recycling and solid waste coordinator, said the borough picks up trash for a number of private or “unaccepted” streets, roads that are not officially part of the borough network. In those cases, residents bring their trash to the nearest accepted street. Many of those cases have only been noticed recently as employees studied trash routes closely during the switch to automated collection.
Saguta’s case is a little different, as he also owns the piece of Caitlin Circle beside his house. All Caitlin Circle residents own the roadway in front of their houses, and borough attorney Edward Fitzpatrick is reviewing the deeds to determine if and how the borough can legally continue picking up trash there.
No one seems to know why the borough started taking Caitlin Circle’s trash. Most of the houses were built in the late 1980s, and many of the residents, who refused to comment for this article, are not the original homeowners. The deeds for Caitlin Circle residents mention a homeowners association to manage roads, utilities and services, but one was never formed.
“Somebody, at some time I guess, said to pick up the trash there,” Mayoral Aide Edward Carter said. “Not under our administration.”
Mayor Robert Mezzo said his administration has a policy of not telling the public works department where to pick up trash, leaving that for the street commission.
The Caitlin Circle matter remains active before the street commission, which is working to determine what should be done for all private or unaccepted streets.
“If you can help it, you don’t want to take services away,” Baummer said. “We’re trying to solve it, but we’re also trying to solve the bigger picture, too.”