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Town OKs $400,000 to settle sewer debt

After a protracted dispute, Clarence will pay $400,000 to the Town of Amherst for its sewer debt.

The sewer bill has mounted for years as Clarence questioned Amherst's billing formula and requested documentation to back the charges.

But it was resolved Dec. 20 when the Clarence Town Board voted unanimously to pay $400,000 to Amherst. Clarence officials said because they received the information they needed, such as interest earnings, they voted in favor of the payment .

"We still have more work to do with applying the formula," said Clarence Supervisor Kathleen E. Hallock, who appointed a committee last month to resolve the issue. "But we want to get this resolved completely."

Amherst Council Member Shelly D. Schratz initiated the talks between the two municipalities.

"We need to put an end to this," she said. "Amherst taxpayers should not being paying for Clarence, and it's not fair. And we know Clarence taxpayers don't want that."

After a nearly six-year battle, Amherst in October 2004 agreed to a $3.7 million settlement.

Clarence paid about 80 percent of the amount before the recent negotiations for a new formula to determine what the two sewer districts owe. Schratz also was instrumental in those negotiations, which involved officials of Erie County Sewer District 5 and Clarence District 2.

During the lull in payments, Amherst had threatened to cut off sewage treatment services to more than 3,000 Clarence residences and businesses if the bill was not paid.

e-mail: esapong@buffnews.com

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