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Amherst to roll out totes to curb rodents

If all goes as scheduled, Amherst residents will begin receiving their new garbage totes as early as Wednesday, Charles Moses, the town's acting senior refuse control officer, said Friday.

Deliveries of the two-wheel, covered garbage containers will begin in rural north Amherst and move southward throughout May.

Town officials hope to hand out all 34,000 of the totes by Memorial Day, Moses said.

Amherst bought the totes, or roll-out carts, with the proceeds of a $1.7 million bond in hopes of controlling a growing rat menace, especially along the town's borders with Cheektowaga and Buffalo.

Buffalo saw a drastic reduction in rodent complaints after distributing the totes in 2001.

But then the rats apparently followed the food source to the suburbs, where garbage was still in plastic bags.

Initially, residents will receive a single, 95-gallon tote per household. And once the first round of deliveries is completed, residents can request to switch to smaller, 65-gallon versions of the wheeled carts -- or they may order a second large tote for $50, Moses said.

The town's $212 annual garbage-removal fee will not be affected, Moses said.

Town laws require that all food-related garbage be placed in the totes, Moses also said. Residents may continue to use their former garbage cans and containers for disposal of yard wastes.

Penalties for violating the new garbage rules begin with a written warning for the first offense and a $50 fine for the second offense.

Persistent violators could pay up to $300 per offense, and they will receive a ticket to appear in court, Moses said.

e-mail: tdolan@buffnews.com

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