LEWISTON – A half-dozen residents Monday appealed to Supervisor Steven L. Reiter to return to Chemical Waste Management the $5,000 the company donated for use toward the a public ice-skating rink.
The Town Board did not take any action on the requests made during the board’s work session. Reiter said he merely wanted to give residents an opportunity to air their concerns about the gift.
“This is an informal meeting, and I’m only doing this because I understand your concerns. I would like to hear your concerns,” the supervisor said.
Reiter did not indicate whether the board would take action.
“I’m asking you to return the $5,000 to CWM because I feel that the schools have not accepted the money from the organization,” said Karen Allen, a Lower River Road resident.
“When they are asking for their license and expansion, this is going to look bad – like they have supported the town.”
Residents characterized the donation from CWM as an attempt to win influence in the community.
CWM is seeking New York State approval to expand its landfill at the Lewiston-Porter town border, though the state Department of Environmental Conservation has said the expansion is unnecessary and that placing the toxic waste it collects in a landfill is the least desirable method of disposal.
Lewiston’s Town Board is among a number of entities in Niagara County, including the County Legislature, the Lewiston-Porter School Board and the villages of Lewiston and Youngstown, that have gone on record in opposition to expansion of the landfill.
“It’s very unfortunate to see the town mentioned in a paid advertisement for a company that [the town is] opposing,” said resident Amy Hope Witryol.
“Not once has CWM provided a document in writing saying that its donation could in no way be used to further expansion, and there’s nothing we can do to prevent them from making that argument. But we certainly have the option and the ability to avoid helping them make that argument.”
April D. Fideli, of Residents for Responsible Government, read a statement from one of the community group’s board members, Timothy P. Henderson.
“In recent years and in partnership with concerned residents, the Town Board has opposed the expansion of this hazardous waste facility both publicly, legislatively and in court proceedings. For the town’s position to be truly effective, it cannot both oppose and support this company,” Henderson wrote.
Witryol said that time was of the essence with regard to returning the donation to CWM.
After the meeting, Witryol said, “You don’t wait until the skating season is over to return the money.”