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GARBAGE-PICKUP BIDS REJECTED; LOWER COST SEEN

The Evans Town Board on Wednesday night rejected several bids to privatize the town's garbage pickup, but says it still expects to cut costs to homeowners.

Costs under the town's current contract are $149 per year.

"Without a doubt, it'll be $140 or less," said Councilman Gifford Swyers, who has been working on the project. "All the bids had come in lower (than the $149), and now I want to make it even lower."

The bids were rejected because the town realized that it had made two errors in the specifications for pickup of waste, refuse and recyclables.

In the revised specifications, bidders will not be required to supply recycling bins, because most residents already have them. The number of dumpsters is also expected to be reduced.

The town is working with the Village of Angola on a joint contract for the first time. They have received some help from Erie County and expect to benefit from a county deal with Chautauqua County to send waste to its landfill in Ellery.

Angola recently rejected bids and requested new ones for the same reasons.

"Both counties' consultants have been meeting with us and worked with us on the preliminary drafts," Swyers said. "It's kind of an experiment, because it's the first one that was negotiated by two municipalities together and with the reduced tipping fee the county negotiated."

New bids are scheduled to be opened Nov. 2.

While garbage-collection costs may be going down, the Town Board is deliberating what to do with its budget. The tentative budget submitted at the start of the month by Town Supervisor Robert Catalino II called for no tax-rate increase, but now Catalino is less optimistic.

"We're trying to figure out what we're going to do, whether we're going to put some money away to make sure we don't get caught short next year," Catalino said.

"We don't want to raise (the tax rate) beforehand, but we don't want to come up short on sales tax revenue."

Some towns have projected losses in sales tax revenues in their budgets because of the national economic downturn.

"We've had decreases four years in a row," Catalino said, "so we're actually looking at maybe saying it's time to get (tax rates) up a little so we don't have to whack everybody at one time next year."

A public hearing on the budget was scheduled for the Nov. 7 board meeting.

e-mail: eploetz@buffnews.com

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