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New rules proposed for scrapping of refrigerators

Scrap metal sellers will face new rules when they bring refrigerators and air conditioners to junkyards for cash, under a proposal in the Common Council.

Scrap metal recyclers and junkyards that don’t accept the small appliances unless harmful gases have already been released lead sellers to cut the metal tubes that hold the refrigerant, causing problems for the environment, according to lawmakers. “This will take the money out of cutting fridges at the curb,” said Council President Richard A. Fontana.

Junkyards that accept old units where the lines that contain refrigerant chemicals have been cut will be fined $500 for every unit they accept under a proposal that will be debated Tuesday.

The measure mandates that companies that deal in waste – junkyards, junk dealers or scrap processors – not accept refrigerators, freezers or air conditioners where the refrigerant lines have been cut.

An exception is made for units that have documentation that refrigerants have been disposed of properly.

In other business:

• The Council took action to end the effects of the city’s occupancy tax, which was a hassle for people selling their properties. In 2018, the city’s liens on properties that have not paid the tax will expire, under a measure approved Tuesday.

• A request from the Police Department to contract with the Police Athletic League to spend $200,000 to “assist various businesses and community-based organizations” was questioned by lawmakers, who said the parameters of the program were vague. The Council approved the measure but asked that the PAL return with more specific information about how the money will be spent.

• A proposal to reduce food truck fees for first-time operators was introduced and will be discussed Tuesday.

• A $2.2 million makeover of Fillmore Avenue between North Parade Avenue and East Ferry Street will move forward, as the Council agreed to hire CATCO for streetscape improvements.

• A state proposal to install new sidewalks and curbs on Seneca Street between Leamington Place and Burch Avenue in South Buffalo was approved.