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One more pickup of tree limbs set

Cheektowaga Highway Superintendent Christopher Kowal said the town will make one final pickup of tree limbs on every road in the town -- including county and state roads.

He made the decision after the Erie County Legislature failed to act on a resolution Thursday that would have allocated three county highway trucks and $49,000 for a grinder.

"We're going as planned," Kowal said. "We can't have this hanging over our heads. The taxpayers in this community are getting screwed."

Kowal and Cheektowaga Supervisor James J. Jankowiak had held several meetings with Erie County Public Works officials to negotiate a one-time pickup of tree limbs on county highways by county and town crews. The storm cleanup ended in December, but many residents weren't able to bring out all the limbs that fell in their yards until this spring.

While Cheektowaga town highway crews picked up the debris from town streets, Kowal said they were not authorized to pick up on county highways. An agreement was reached to do that and for the county to rent a grinder for the limbs. It had to be approved by the County Legislature, but because one legislator objected Thursday to adding the agreement to the agenda, it was sent to a committee.

After the holdup at the County Legislature, Kowal got fed up.

"We've got to get the stuff off the streets at this point," Kowal said. "These people who live on county roads are taking a beating here. They do pay county taxes for a service they don't get."

Kowal said the pickup throughout the town will take place the weeks of June 18 and 25, and residents must put out all the storm debris by next Monday, because there will be just one run down every street.

"They have to have it out. We're not going back," he said.

Kowal said that he wasn't sure where the money for the pickup will come from but that the town will find it somewhere. He's having crews go into "storm cleanup mode," working 12-hour days.

"Chris has done an excellent job on town roads, and I know he'll do an excellent job on county roads," Jankowiak said.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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