by Susan Mikula Campbell
Wheatfield residents can feel a bit smug about Earth Day this year.
At Monday's Town Board meeting, Supervisor Bob Cliffe reported good news on the recycling front. Town residents just started a new large bin every other week recycling program with Modern Disposal Services this month.
Cliffe said he had just received the first report from Joe Hickman, Modern sales and municipal accounts manager, with a month-to-date comparison with the same time period in 2011.
In 2011, Modern collected 290.72 tons of trash in Wheatfield. This month, it was 275.11 tons, a 15.61-ton reduction. In 2011, Modern collected 29.7 tons of recycling. This month, it was 53.75 tons, a 24.05-ton increase.
"These are phenomenal numbers. ... But we need to keep in mind that the recycling numbers might be a bit misleading due to people 'hoarding' material in anticipation of the new program," Hickman wrote. "On the other hand, the expanded menu of materials, the new truck, which is capable of collecting larger sized items, and the overall awareness brought about by the open houses, newsletters, media coverage and the recycling menu molded into the cart lid certainly helped. Keep our fingers crossed the trend continues."
Cliffe said residents continuing to support the program will save the town a great deal of money for trash collection.
"Everything we recycle, they pay us. Everything we put in the ground, we have to pay them. Congratulations to everyone," Cliffe said.
In the same vein, Councilman Larry Helwig reported the annual Cub Scout Pack 833 Liberty Drive Cleanup will begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 5. "It all helps," he said.
In other matters:
•The schedule of May meetings was changed due to the Memorial Day holiday at the end of the month. The next board meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. May 7. The second May meeting will be on May 21, starting with a public hearing at 7:15 p.m. on amending town code for zoning by including definitions of certain 21st century terminology, such as "planned unit development" and "patio homes." The hearing will be followed by the regular meeting at 7:30 p.m.
•The board approved a new list of fees presented by Richard Donner, water/sewer superintendent, who indicated the fee increases were necessary due to the rise in costs for brass, copper and fuel costs. The fees have not been increased in more than 10 years, he said.
Tap fees will go from $600 to $800 for 3/4-inch pipe; from $750 to $1,000 for 1-inch; from $1,000 to $1,500 for 1 1/2-inch; and from $1,350 to $2,000 for 2-inch. The water application fee will go from $150 to $175.
The cost for unpaid water/sewer bills to be put on taxes will go from $50 to $100.
•The board approved hiring Drescher & Malecki for the 2011 audit at accost of $19,250, but decided against a four-year contract with the auditors at this time, citing the excellent job done on town finances by Ed Mongold, the town's budget director.
•In the public comment portion of the meeting, Wheatfield resident Kathy Staedt commented on the town's investigation of the possibility of developing a town center project on vacant property around Town Hall (see Tribune, April 12).
"I really feel we don't need that. I think it's a waste of money and time," she said, adding that the money would be better spent reducing taxes.