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JUNE 24 - JULY 02, 2014

Touma, Council May Tweak Garbage Plan, Ensure That It is More User Friendly

By Tony Farina

June 24, 2014

Councilman Andrew Touma

The new garbage plan for Niagara Falls may not have as many holes as Swiss cheese, but it is pretty close.

That's the view of City Councilmember Andrew Touma who believes the city's new garbage and recyclable pickup plan will likely need to be tweaked before and after it is rolled out Aug. 1 on a dubious public.

"The problem is there are a lot of holes in this thing," said Touma in talking about the new plan designed by City Administrator Donna Owens. Touma said the council is negotiating with the city administration and Modern Disposal about the concerns they've heard from residents and businesses in Niagara Falls as the new refuse and recyclable pickup regulations, first brought to public attention by the Niagara Falls Reporter, get a more thorough airing. Among the concerns are that several hundred businesses have received letters saying they may no longer receive pickup service.

The city is paying about $2.1 million for the 64-gallon refuse totes and 96-gallon recyclable totes that are scheduled to begin coming into the city June 30 in advance of the Aug. 1 start date.

Among the questions is whether the 64-gallon refuse totes will be sufficient for residents as the plan, which was designed to promote the city's poor recycling rate (4 percent), will offer 96-gallon recyclable totes for pickup every two weeks. Businesses will get two 64-gallon totes and one recyclable tote.

"We're trying to be user friendly," said Touma, and that could mean reversing the totes (94-gallon refuse, 64 gallon recyclable), and mimic the practices of other communities where things are running quite smoothly.

"It's really a quality of life issue," said Touma, cautioning against sacrificing environmental protection for the economic benefits of a higher recycling rate.

Touma said lawmakers are shouldering their responsibilities as elected representatives by digging into the garbage plan to make sure it is satisfactory to residents and businesses alike, and that the public is made fully aware of what's going on before the rollout commences Aug. 1.

Touma said there could be some changes made before that scheduled rollout to address the concerns that have been raised by residents and businesses and that negotiations are continuing.

And once the new pickups begin, "we'll see how it is working," said Touma, and we can always tweak it again, as necessary, as we get feedback from the community.





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©2014 The Niagara Falls Reporter Inc.
POB 3083, Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14304
Phone: (716) 284-5595

Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
Managing Editor: Dr. Chitra Selvaraj
Senior Editor: Tony Farina