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NYC Parks Department Struggles To Maintain Parks Due To Limited Staff, Budget Cuts

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- As trash keeps piling up around the five boroughs, Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a new initiative.

The plan includes adding more trash trucks in neighborhoods that have been hardest hit by COVID-19 and also areas that are seeing more foot traffic.

The plan also provides money to increase cleaning services in parks, CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported Tuesday.

MOREProspect Park Littered With Beer And Liquor Bottles, Containers Of Food, Other Garbage Following Illegal Party On Sunday Night

Images of beer bottles and other trash left behind at Prospect Park last month are the biggest headache for Parks Department employees who are already stretched thin. The result of another unsanctioned party.

"We're working with NYPD and our Park Police to really try to clamp this down because it really has an impact on employee morale, but also on the neighborhood's quality of life," Parks Department Commissioner Mitchell Silver said.

CBS2 caught up with Silver at a ribbon cutting for a new soccer field on Tuesday morning.

Adding to the concern about illegal parties is the department's $84 million budget cut, which has led to fewer staff members to handle a much bigger job.

"We are trying to figure out how we can do things differently. We have an army of volunteers throughout the city on weekends that are coming out to help clean our parks," Silver said.

FLASHBACK: Trash Piling Up Over NYC After Sanitation Department's Budget Slashed By Over $100 Million

The city is now relying on volunteers like Ulises Noboa.

"Incredible. In front of the building a lot of trash. In the park also," said Noboa.

Noboa's organization, Bameso USA, has partnered with The Renaissance Technical Institute and others every week for years to clean up their Washington Heights neighborhood. But they say in past years it hasn't been this bad.

"People are using this as a place to meet with neighbors or family members. It's very important for this place to be safe and clean at the same time," said David Hiraldo, the President of The Renaissance Technical Institute.

Last week in her resignation letter, Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia warned that further proposed city-wide budget cuts would make matters worse delaying track pick up.

"Now with the season being over, we hope to keep pace with park maintenance," said Commissioner Silver.

Commissioner Silver hopes the extra chill in the air brings some relief. Fewer people using the parks will allow his limited staff to keep up.

We can't forget our own personal responsibility in all of this. The Parks Department recently launched a whole campaign, reminding people to clean up after themselves.

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