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An Amherst administrator recommended Monday that the town extend its garbage-collection contract with Browning-Ferris Industries for three years.

The rate homeowners pay for the service would remain the same, said Leonard J. Fiegle, senior refuse officer.

Amherst's garbage district charges homeowners $180 a year for a full range of services, including weekly year-round recycling and trash pickups. Amherst also has a composting center for yard waste.

The town previously signed a two-year deal with the company for 1997 and 1998. The contract is worth $2.4 million to Browning-Ferris this year.

If the Town Board approves the extension, the company would receive $2.6 million in 1999, $2.7 million in 2000 and nearly $2.8 million in 2001, Fiegle said.

Town Board members asked Fiegle to make some informal price comparisons but indicated their preliminary support for the extension.

"I think this falls in the category of if it's not broke, don't fix it," Council Member James P. Hayes said. "I've heard no complaints from residents. The service is first rate."

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