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Sanitation Department may close

A Tuscarora Road resident told the Town Board this week he disagrees with a proposal to eliminate the town's Sanitation Department.

Robert A. Clark, who ran in the primary election but lost a seat on the Democratic ticket earlier this month, said he was unhappy about a plan to close the department.

"I think they do a very good job," Clark said.

The Town Board is considering asking BFI Waste Systems of North America to take over garbage collection and add recycling pickup in 2007.

Whatever BFI cannot burn, the company must dispose of, Supervisor Steven C. Richards said.

BFI is currently negotiating with the town for a a permit to store waste in another portion of the company's construction debris landfill at 5600 Niagara Falls Blvd., which straddles the City of Niagara Falls and the Town of Niagara.

The proposed 84-acre landfill would be entirely within the town.

BFI pays the town $200,000 annually to operate its existing landfill within its borders.

Town officials are considering a plan to ask BFI to collect garbage and bring it to the landfill as part of the approval process.

Richards said many other municipalities with landfills within their borders also make arrangements for free garbage pickup as part of their landfill agreements.

Clark questioned what will happen when the landfill is full.

Richards said he did not believe it will be full, since someone would probably come up with new technology to get rid of the waste. He did acknowledge that if no such technology is found, the dump would be filled in 12 to 20 years.

Currently, BFI does not charge the town for tipping. Richards said that under the new proposal, the company will pick up the trash at the curb, continue not to charge the town a tipping fee, and continue to pay the town $200,000 a year, which would be adjusted for inflation.

If and when the state mandates that the town recycle, BFI will be obligated to do the recycling for free. Richards said the company also will buy all existing equipment at fair-market value.

The town currently pays $670,000 annually for a service Richards said he believes should be done for free. The supervisor also said the town is the only one in Niagara County that picks up trash with municipal forces.

Councilman Marc M. Carpenter said an effort to eliminate the Sanitation Department in 1993 failed because nobody wanted to eliminate any town jobs.

If the town chooses to go with BFI, the town's five sanitation workers would be transferred to other departments, Richards said. They would probably go to the Highway or Water or Sewer departments. Richards said he believes the men should go to Highway because that department now has five employees, but, in 1980, had 13.
e-mail: pkowalik@buffnews.com1

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