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Merger could mean sewer savings

It looks like merging Depew's sanitary sewer system into Erie County could save village residents money, Trustee Joseph W. Keefe said.

"It makes a lot of sense to the mayor and the board to pursue this," he said at Monday night's Village Board meeting.

The average resident in the Lancaster side of the village might save about $70 a year, and Cheektowaga residents of Depew could save about $25 a year, he said. The savings would depend on the assessed value of the property.

Keefe and village officials have had several meetings with Erie County over a possible merger. Depew is under a consent order from the state Department of Environmental Conservation to reduce sanitary overflows into Scajaquada and Cayuga creeks.

"Our problem right now is where are we going to get millions of dollars to comply with these consent orders?" Keefe said.

Irvine Reinig, of Columbia Avenue, asked if public works positions would be eliminated in the event of a merger. Keefe said it appears as if the county would be able to take on the employees.

But Public Works Superintendent John Wojcik said his department has suffered losses from attrition through the years and needs all of its remaining employees.

"I would strongly advise against eliminating any more positions, " Wojcik said. "These positions are needed to carry on the day-to-day operation."

He said 25 years ago there were 57 employees in public works, and today there are 34.

"I can justify keeping all of them on," he said.

Reinig said it didn't make sense to merge the sewer system and not eliminate employees.

Keefe said the issue and its costs are still being studied.

Also Monday night, the board honored Police Officer David Ziemba, who is retiring after 35 years with the village.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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