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Campaign overshadows discussion of landfill suit

LEWISTON -- Issues surrounding the two men running for supervisor overshadowed the discussion of a potential lawsuit being brought against the town by Modern Landfill.

Things heated up when Thomas Deal, campaign treasurer for GOP candidate Steven Reiter, took potshots at the town's electric bills "going through the roof," and said the "quarterback is blaming everyone else."

He was continuing to keep the heat on Democratic Supervisor Fred M. Newlin II, who is running for re-election and helped broker the relicensing settlement for the Niagara Power Project.

Lewiston residents are the only ones who get discounted electricity as part of a deal involving several municipalities and school districts, but changes in wholesale electric cuts have cut what was a 60 percent discount to one that is now less than 15 percent.

After criticizing the supervisor, Deal himself was put into the hot seat, as some Town Board members questioned what Town Democratic Chairwoman Diane Roberts labeled a "sweet deal" on Deal's property on Perry Court.

Two hundred feet of sewer pipe were installed without going before the Town Board or paying for the cost of the pipe, which is estimated at more than $1,000.

The board unanimously agreed to have the state attorney general look into the matter in order to take politics out of the issue.

Town Engineer Robert Lannon said work done on Deal's property was done on a private easement which should have come before the board.

Reiter, who currently is the town highway superintendent, told The Buffalo News after the meeting that town workers believed that when they were in the area doing another home on Perry Court, they were on town land, not Deal's, and said installing pipe in such an instance is a common practice.

Councilman Ernest Palmer, a Republican, said he spoke to the drainage superintendent, who told him they used excess pipe and thought they were on town property.

"I don't want to take drastic action. I hope we can use a little compassion," Palmer said.

In another matter, the board also discussed Modern Landfill's intent to file litigation against the town regarding alleged toxic waste barrels found on the old town dump.

"Modern curiously brought this [intent to sue] up after they did not receive their request to increase tonnage [at the landfill], which I find galling," Newlin said.

The supervisor said the town is prepared to deal with this and has been keeping money aside for this issue. Chief Executive Officer Gary E. Smith has estimated that it may cost $100,000 to $500,000 to clean up the waste.

Modern Landfill's Committee Advisory Chairman Vince DiMarco suggested the board consider sanctions against Modern for truck sizes that are too large.

The board agreed to send Modern a certified letter regarding issues of jake brakes, tipping fees for alternative daily cover, Canadian waste criteria, truck size data, correct tipping fees and any contract negotiations.

e-mail: nfischer@buffnews.com

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