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Mayor to attempt negotiations on new Lockport garbage contract

LOCKPORT – Lockport Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey was informally authorized Wednesday to try to negotiate terms on a new garbage and recycling contract with Modern Disposal before the city has to give notice of whether it wants to renew the current deal.

The five-year contract with Modern expires Sept. 30, but the city has to tell the Lewiston company by July 1 whether it wants to renew or hold open bidding.

In a lengthy work session Wednesday, the three aldermen present at the end gave McCaffrey the go-ahead to see what kind of deal she can make. The mayor said she hopes to present terms to the Council in May or early June, so the aldermen have time to discuss it before July 1.

Alderman R. Joseph O’Shaughnessy, D-at large, who missed the unusual daytime work session, didn’t approve of the outcome. He said he intends to return his resolution seeking immediate bidding on a garbage contract to the May 4 Council agenda.

“I’m not saying anything against Modern,” O’Shaughnessy said. “The only thing I’m saying is, for the betterment of the city, we should go out to bid. Modern could be the best answer. That’s OK with me.”

McCaffrey said her goal will be to try to keep Modern near the current prices, which are $32.23 per ton for landfilling trash, $88.48 per stop for collection service, and a payment to the city of $2.50 per ton for recyclables, a figure which could rise if the recycling market bounces back from its current low state. “If we go out (for bids), we’re resigned to a serious price increase,” she said.

Dawn M. Timm, Niagara County environmental coordinator, said at the work session that recent local bid prices have ranged from $38 to $42 per ton for trash disposal.

There was sentiment at the work session for expanded bulk item pickups, but McCaffrey wasn’t enthusiastic about it. “We don’t want all users to pay for something only a handful want more of,” she said.

On another topic, the Council unanimously voted to allow Lafarge North America a special-use permit to expand its stone quarry to mine an additional 9.1 acres within the city limits. The city’s century-old water supply line from the Niagara River runs past the site. Lafarge has pledged to foot the bill for any blasting-related repairs to the pipeline with a $500,000 repair fund, and also will pay up to $50,000 to replace the valve that connects the city water system to the county system as an emergency water source.

Alderman Mark S. Devine, R-3rd Ward, who campaigned last fall against the permit, explained that Lafarge’s insurance fund changed his mind.

“I didn’t have all the facts,” Devine said. “When (Lafarge project manager) Perry Galdenzi looked me in the eye and shook my hand and said Lafarge won’t leave the city high and dry on this one, that was good enough for me.”

Michael T. Marino of Nussbaumer & Clarke, hired Wednesday as the city engineering firm with a $50,000 retainer, said more state grant money than expected is available to pay for replacing the old waterline. The city applied for a $2 million grant April 15, but it has now increased that to the new maximum of $3 million. Replacing the two-mile section of the supply line closest to the city is estimated to cost as much as $6 million.