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The Orchard Park Town Board jettisoned National Fuel as its natural gas supplier Wednesday night, voting to go with the School and Municipal Energy Cooperative instead.

The town will still pay National Fuel for transmission of the gas, but buying the fuel from the cooperative should save the town about 5 percent, or $3,000, per year..

Town Supervisor Toni Cudney estimated the town's natural gas expenditures at about $40,000 for both the gas and transmission. It is used to heat the Orchard Park Municipal Center, town highway facilities, dog control building and to keep some of the town's playground facilities at a minimal temperature during the winter, she said.

"In 2002, we joined SMEC to buy electricity," Cudney said, "and we've been saving about 6.9 to 12 percent, depending on the electricity market.

She said the cooperative's analysis of the town's bills showed it could save the town 5.4 percent. During the winter, when the rates are highest, the move could save 10 to 14 percent, Cudney said.

The cooperative supplies more than 30 school districts and half a dozen towns and villages.

The board also OK'd eight conservation easements on 190 acres, mostly in the southern part of the town.

The conservation easements allow the owners to get tax breaks in exchange for not developing their land for different periods of time.

The largest were for George Rozuk for a permanent easement on 64.9 acres on Draudt Road; Michael and Ivonne Cellino for a 50-year easement on 40 acres on Chestnut Ridge Road; and Henry Lewandowski for a 15-year easement on 34.6 acres on Cole Road.


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