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City's trash, recycling pickup fees to be less than town's

Garbage and recycling collection will cost most city homeowners less than their counterparts in the Town of Lockport are paying, under the new privatized system that the Common Council is expected to approve July 6.

Although the exact prices have not yet been set, Council President Richelle J. Pasceri on Wednesday offered ranges for the user fees connected with the three sizes of garbage cans.

She said the annual price for the smallest size, a 35-gallon garbage tote, will range from $110 to $120. The 65-gallon container will cost $145 to $155 a year, and the largest size, a 95-gallon tote, will carry a fee of $175 to $185.

The Town of Lockport billed its residents $176.15 this year.

The city will supply residents with two containers: the garbage tote of their choice and a 65-gallon recycling tote.

The garbage will be picked up weekly and the recycling every other week.

Dawn M. Timm, Niagara County environmental science coordinator, said that it costs a private hauler $80 an hour to put a garbage truck on the road, while it costs the city $100 an hour. The difference is in the crew's wages and benefits.

"At no time do the private costs come close to the public costs," said Timm, who calculated a savings of $428,148 in the first year and a total of $10.2 million saved during the first decade of privatization.

Timm said the totes will have computer chips under the rims, as well as a serial number embossed on the front.

She said the chips, which can be read by a scanner in a passing vehicle, will show whether the user fee has been paid and can be used to return a missing or stolen tote.

Also, they could be used to measure how much garbage is recycled. Timm said that there is an idea for a reward system based on the amount of recycling.

Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano said that unpaid user fees will be added to the following year's property tax bill but that service won't be cut off.

The City Treasurer's Office will handle the billing, but City Clerk and Budget Director Richard P. Mullaney said that it hasn't been decided exactly how and when the bills will be distributed.

City residents will be able to choose their tote during a six-week education period after the contract is awarded, Timm said.

Residents who choose the wrong container for their needs will be able to make one free exchange, Timm said. The city will sell tags for trash that doesn't fit in the totes.

The garbage totes will be blue, while the recycling bins will be a different shade of blue with a yellow lid, Timm said.

The recycling totes' lids are to be embossed with information about what can be recycled.

Timm said businesses will be allocated one weekly pickup of the 95-gallon container for the base fee, and they'll pay extra if they need more. Downtown businesses receive daily pickup now at no extra charge.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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