NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There’s a warning that trash piling up on New York City streets could force more small businesses to close.

The problem started after city slashed sanitation funding and reduced trash pickups.

RELATED STORY: Trash Piling Up Over NYC After Sanitation Department’s Budget Slashed By Over $100 Million

City Comptroller Scott Stringer says small businesses relying on foot traffic and outdoor dining to stay afloat are now dealing with unwanted guests.

“Instead of welcoming potential customers, the city has rolled out a different welcome mat for the rats of our city,” he said. “These rats have the run of New York City, and if we don’t get this under control now, we can forget about it.”

RELATED STORY: Harlem Residents Fed Up With Overflowing Trash Bins Take Clean Up Effort Into Their Own Hands

Stringer says rat sightings are up by 60%.

He’s calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to restore funding for the sanitation department and improve trash collection.

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