by Susan Mikula Campbell
Opening of bids for Wheatfield's new large recycling totes added holiday cheer to Monday's Town Board meeting as bids came in lower than expected.
The town plans to begin bi-weekly large tote recycling by this spring, reaping a guaranteed minimum recycling rebate of $30,000 per year.
The town had expected to pay $60 to $70 each for the totes, which have wheels, a reinforced bottom and a lid with a special scan chip. Of five bidders for the totes, Cascade Engineering of Grand Rapids, Mich., had the lowest bid for 6,500 totes - $42.34 each. Second lowest bidder was Rehrig Pacific Co. of Erie, Pa. - $43.40.
Total cost for the totes would be about $274,000.
Niagara County Environmental Coordinator Dawn Timm said the town should qualify for up to 50 percent reimbursement of the cost from the state.
The board plans to review financing arrangements and the details of the bids and prices in order make a decision soon, possibly by the end of this month.
While the refuse contract with Modern Disposal was approved at the last meeting, some contract details must be resolved there as well, such as the possibility of providing smaller totes for senior citizens who request them.
An increase in recycling is expected, based on what already is happening with larger totes and every-other-week recycling collection in Lockport, which will result in a lower garbage collection price to the town. Collection of regular garbage will remain weekly.
In other matters:
•The board voted to allow North Tonawanda to connect to the town's Southern Drainage System to help mitigate flooding for city residents on the west side of Witmer Road.
Tim Zuber of Wendel Duchscherer Architects and Engineers said debris in the ditch near the landfill will be removed and a small pipe installed along with a dual pipe into the town's drainage system. He said work will be funded by the county with no cost to town residents.
This is contingent on the successful completion of the Southern Drainage System's connection to the North Tonawanda culvert project.
The approval, Supervisor Bob Cliffe said, "shows we're working together with North Tonawanda to solve both our drainage problems down there."
•The board approved the town's proposal for a three-year contract with the Teamsters Union as negotiated by Cliffe and Town Attorney Robert O'Toole. Details of the contract won't be released until after union approval.
•The board will hold its reorganization meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 3. The meeting will be held in the Wheatfield Community Center, next to Town Hall, because the regular meeting room will be in use for town court that night. Regular monthly meetings will continue in the Town Hall meeting room at 7:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of the month.
•Cliffe ended Monday's meeting by contrasting this December to December 2010.
"This time last year we were scrambling just to make ends meet," he said. "We're in a very good financial position, and we certainly don't have to borrow any money."