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Garbage totes' price tag shocks officials

Mandating garbage totes throughout the Town of Tonawanda could cost $2.3 million, a price tag that stunned Town Board members this week and prompted a call for another work session to work out financing.

"I was surprised by that dollar amount," said Councilman John J. Flynn. "I think that $2.3 million is a worst-case scenario of how much these totes would cost."

The board is scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. Monday in the Municipal Building, 2919 Delaware Ave., Kenmore. A majority of the board supported a townwide totes program at last week's session held to discuss the proposed changes in the garbage law, which are aimed at stopping rodent infestation.

Councilman John A. Bargnesi thought the town could piggyback on a totes bid from a Florida city, which would allow the town to buy the totes at a cheaper price. But the real cost was unknown at the time of the last work session.

Town Comptroller Edward Mongold looked into costs and financing options and came up with $2.3 million, excluding the funding to retrofit garbage trucks. And the legal department determined the town can't take advantage of out-of-state bids.

"It's a general overview based on very preliminary numbers," Mongold said.

Bargnesi, Councilman Joseph Emminger and Councilwoman Lisa M. Chimera said they still support the program, but Flynn and Councilman Daniel Crangle said they weren't comfortable moving the process forward.

Supervisor Ronald H. Moline, who had recommended a townwide covered-container program, was a bit baffled. He said he thought the board was behind the totes and would want to progress to a public hearing.

Flynn said he's still 95 percent sure of the totes, but some factors have changed, such as the town not being able to piggyback on the cheaper out-of-state bid, and he now wants to discuss it some more. "I don't think anyone indicated last week we were 100 percent in favor of totes," he said.

When the revisions in the town's garbage-collection regulations were proposed in December, they designated totes for businesses and multiple-family dwellings. The stipulation for single-family residences would have been to use some kind of sturdy, covered containers.


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