by Larry Austin
The Town of Grand Island is getting out of the e-waste collection business.
At Monday's Town Board meeting, Town Supervisor Mary Cooke said the town is no longer accepting electronic waste, such as televisions, computers and copiers at its drop-off location at the Highway Department garage on Whitehaven Road.
"The e-waste processor under Erie County contract is no longer able to fulfill their obligations. Therefore, we will no longer be a collection point for electronic waste," a memo to the Town Board from the Highway Department said. Residents are advised to take waste electronics to a certified e-waste recycling site: Hazman, 7 Wales Ave., Tonawanda (998-8073); Advanced Technology Recycling (ATR), 200 Fire Tower Drive, Tonawanda (693-7779); or any Best Buy location. Signs will be posted at the highway garage, where residents used to drop their e-waste.
Cooke said the economics of e-waste recycling have changed. Where once the town received 8.6 cents per pound for e-waste, it now pays 20 cents a pound, Cooke said.
"We can't afford to collect," Cooke said, noting the town was paying $800 to $1,000 some weeks for its e-waste.
In other decisions at the meeting:
Saying "wait 'til next year," the board closed a public hearing on uses for a 2015 Community Development Block Grant that the town likely won't receive. Cooke said the town is a member of a consortium and generally receives grant money every other year.
"We received $55,000 last year and we utilized it for transportation for the Golden Age Center. So we knew this year was not our year," she said. Under CDBG criteria, a project must benefit senior citizens or the handicapped, Cooke said.
Budget Still in Process
No one spoke at a public hearing Monday regarding the Town of Grand Island's 2015 preliminary budget.
Town Supervisor Mary Cooke said it was the quickest budget hearing ever.
"There is nothing to pass yet tonight because the Town Board has not finished deliberating the budget," Cooke said.
The final budget must be passed by Nov. 20.
"Our plan is to have that budget finalized and to likely pass it at the regular meeting in two weeks, Nov. 17," Cooke said.
The supervisor's recommendation includes an estimated general fund tax rate per thousand of $1.484, with a levy of $2,275,703, or 2 percent more than the 2014 levy of $2,231,087.
The fire protection district levy would rise 3.2 percent (from $1,207,766 to $1,245,966) and have an estimated tax rate of .778 per thousand. The board is still negotiating with the Grand Island Fire Co. on a possible five-year contract.
The highway fund levy would rise 2.5 percent from $2,574,929 to $2,639,302, with an estimated tax rate of $1.721 per thousand.
Board Joins Campaign to Reduce Textile Waste
The board voted 5-0 to support a statewide resolution to recover more textiles that would otherwise end up in the solid waste stream. The resolution said the town "wishes to take a leadership role in recycling efforts to reduce solid waste and recycle those components of the waste stream in order to benefit the environment by promoting textile recovery efforts and communicating the environmental, economic and social benefits of increased textile recover."
The resolution noted the average citizen discards 70 pounds of textile waste each year according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with 15 percent reused or recycled and 85 percent buried or, in Grand Island's case, incinerated at Covanta, Cooke said.
Cooke said she and the town engineer, John Whitney, attended a solid waste management meeting, where, "It was shocking to us to learn that every one of us is responsible for about 70 pounds of waste a year."
Cooke said she also learned donation boxes seen around town accept "clothing that's soiled or ripped" as recoverable.
"Don't throw it in the garbage," Cooke said, "hand it off to one of these places and they'll recover it and use it as appropriate."
•The board accepted with regret two resignations from government boards. Don Batalaris resigned from the Traffic Safety Advisory Board after moving out of town, and Gary McDannell resigned from the Conservation Advisory Board.
•The board gave approval to two requests to split and merge parcels after review by town staff. The requests do not create new lots, meet bulk zoning regulations established by the town code for all parcels involved after the movement of lines and do not result in two different zoning classifications on the same lot.
"Both of these requests meet that criteria," Cooke said.
The requests were made by Frederick Thompson to split and merge property at 3580 and 3598 Stony Point Road, and Mark Deuble to split and merge property at 3998 and 4019 East River Road.
•The board held a workshop meeting in the Town Hall conference room and heard a presentation from Col. Robin Pfeil (retired) from the Niagara Military Affairs Council about the Niagara Falls Air Base.
•Tomkins informed the board of the promotion of caretaker John M. Podlucky to laborer effective Nov. 10 with a pay rate set by the union contract.
•Whitney requested the approval to a change in the status of Patrick Gallagher from seasonal full time employee to part time help in the Water Department at the same rate of pay, retroactive to Oct. 14.
•The board approved two special use permits, one for National Fuel Gas at 1589 Stony Point Road, for a natural gas regulator and metering station in an R1B district; and another to Richard Benz for keeping of three agricultural animals on four acres in an R1D district (with currently no animals on-site) at 828 East River Road. The permit was originally granted in 1972.
•On the recommendation of the town's code enforcement officer, Doug Learman, the board unanimously approved the hiring of Rhonda Tollner for a part time clerk's position. In a memo to the board, Learman said 19 applications were received for a part time zoning clerk position, from which six were contacted for additional information and three were interviewed.
•The board granted an extension to the building plans to JM Science of Bedell Road (the building with the green roof visible from the I-190).
•In reports from board members, Councilman Dick Crawford noted that the winter parking restrictions are now in effect from 2 to 7 a.m.
Cooke noted the "Vikings for Vets" 5K race is Saturday morning, calling it "a huge effort by our high school students to support the veterans." She also said the town's Veterans Day service is at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11, at the Veterans Wall off Bedell Road in Veterans Park.
Cooke pointed out the Friends of the Grand Island Memorial Library will hold a book sale Nov. 14 and 15, and she also made note of the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce and its upcoming "Light up the Boulevard" parade Nov. 22.
•The board held its memorial adjournment in honor of Islanders James Dempsey and Maureen Durand.