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Bills for Lockport garbage service won't go out until after elections

City Treasurer Michael E. White said last week that the bills for city-operated garbage service from January through October of this year haven't been calculated yet and won't go out until after the election.

The Common Council left garbage costs out of the 2011 budget, figuring privatized service would start far sooner than it actually did. Modern Disposal didn't start picking up garbage in the city until Oct. 10.

The bills will produce funds needed to retroactively cover that expense.

White said he expects the city's new refuse fund will have an October-to-October fiscal year, and residents are to be billed for their user fees semiannually, in October and May.

On another topic at last week's meeting, the Council again defeated Alderman Andrew D. Chapman's plan for term limits for the mayor and Council.

The vote again was 4-2, with Chapman, R-4th Ward, and Alderman Jack L. Smith Jr., D-2nd Ward, voting yes.

The Council tabled Chapman's plan in February 2010. Chapman, who is running for a Niagara County Legislature seat, tried to get the Council to take the matter off the table last month, but it refused by the same 4-2 margin, forcing Chapman to start over.

The plan limits aldermen to three consecutive two-year terms and mayors to two consecutive four-year terms. However, an incumbent could return to office after sitting out a term, but an alderman could run for mayor, or vice versa, without sitting out a term.

In effect, said Chapman, it's conceivable that a person could be in city office for 14 years under his plan.

The public hearing rehashed familiar arguments for and against term limits. Former Alderwoman Phyllis J. Green, who lost to Tucker in the Republican mayoral primary, noted that her seven Council terms were interrupted by a defeat.

"In the meantime, you had two years of figuring out what you did wrong. I did come back, and I did win," Green told the Council. "Term limits, as far as I'm concerned, are good for the city and they're good for you."

"What was her term limit? An election," said Alderwoman Flora M. McKenzie, D-3rd Ward, who voted no.

Former Alderman Patrick W. Schrader, who lost to Chapman in 2009 and is trying to make a comeback this year, disagreed with Green.

"It limits the choice of candidates the people can vote for," Schrader said. "All we have to do is vote the incumbents out if we don't like them."

Chapman said, "Incumbency promotes more spending and bureaucracy." He said new officials are "more likely to vote on principle."

Meanwhile, the Council set trick-or-treat hours for Halloween for 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 31 and scheduled a city Halloween party for kids from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday in the City Hall parking lot.

Also approved was the closing of Livingston Place on Halloween night for the annual performance by a band of local KISS imitators.