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Wheatfield seeks state money for landfill fence, sewers

WHEATFIELD – The Wheatfield Town Board voted last week to apply for state funds to help pay for a fence around a toxic landfill.

The town also is seeking money from Albany for emergency power generators at some sewer stations.

Both requests – $75,000 for the fence and $200,000 for the sewer improvements – will be made to the state Dormitory Authority. In both instances, the town was to allocate money of its own, but Supervisor Robert B. Cliffe said the town may not have to.

For example, the town was under the impression that the grant for a fence around the old Niagara Sanitation Co. landfill off Nash Road was to be what Cliffe called a 70-30 project: 70 percent from Albany, 30 percent from the town.

However, Bernie Rotella, the town’s grant writing consultant, said no matching money is required from the town.

“It’s going to cost us $152,000. The latest number from Wendel is $152,000,” said Cliffe, referring to the town’s engineering firm. Learning from Rotella that state grants could be used to pay for the whole project led Cliffe to a decision.

“We’re going to go back and ask for more,” he said.

State Sen. Robert G. Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, previously had told the Town Board that he had found $75,000 for the fence. “He told the board that he could ask for more,” Cliffe said.

However, it’s not known when the application would be approved and the money would flow.

Late last year, the state Department of Environmental Conservation ordered the town to fence the landfill, which it reclassified as a threat to human health in the wake of the excavation of old Love Canal waste from the dump last spring. The waste was moved there by the state Department of Transportation in 1968, when it disturbed the Love Canal landfill in constructing the LaSalle Expressway in Niagara Falls. In the same year, Niagara Sanitation went out of business and the town took title to the Nash Road landfill.

The other Dormitory Authority application was for $200,000 to help pay for generators at sewer pump stations on Niagara Falls Boulevard and Wheatfield-Pendleton Town Line Road. The estimated total cost is $266,750.

“These are maintenance projects, major rebuilds on both of them,” Cliffe said.

Although Richard Donner, the town’s water and sewer director, hopes to complete the work this year, that’s not certain.

On another sewer topic, the board voted to hold public hearings July 25 on two other sewer lift station replacement projects: $375,000 on Jagow Road and $225,000 on Clescent Road. Cliffe said the town expects to borrow the money for those projects through a bond issue.

The hearings will follow one at 7 p.m. July 25 on the rezoning of three parcels of land on Cayuga Drive Extension, the site of the former Justin Tyme restaurant, from residential to commercial. The Jagow Road hearing will begin at 7:10 and the Clescent Road hearing at 7:20.

The board also scheduled a hearing for 7 p.m. Aug. 8 on amending the zoning code to allow farming in a rural-residential zone.

“Technically, farming is not allowed in that district, and it’s all farmland,” Cliffe said. The farms are all legal because they pre-date the zoning code, but if a farm were abandoned for a year, it couldn’t be legally restarted.

“It’s really a no-brainer to allow farming in a zone that’s all farmland,” Cliffe said.

On another topic, the board approved a permanent appointment for Vincent M. Sandonato as town human resources director. Sandonato was hired last year, but the appointment was provisional. His salary of $800 a week for the part-time job won’t change.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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