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The Town of Lancaster has signed a new garbage disposal contract with Waste Management Inc. that should save property owners hundreds of thousands of dollars in special-district taxes starting in 2014, according to town officials.

Waste Management replaces Covanta Energy, which had a 25-year disposal contract with the town that expires at the end of this year. The town this year is paying Covanta $50.67 per ton to dispose of its refuse and will pay Waste Management $30 per ton under the new contract, or 41 percent less.

“That was a big savings for the taxpayer,” Lancaster Supervisor Dino J. Fudoli said in an interview.

The town agreed to a 13-month deal with Waste Management, which made the lowest bid among the four companies, including Covanta, that sought the tipping contract, Fudoli said.

The town wanted an agreement that ended in early 2014 because that’s when the town’s contract with the company that picks up the garbage expires.

The new solid waste disposal contract and the existing hauling contract, also with Waste Management, both can be renewed for five more years, but the town can opt out of the deals, Fudoli said.

The supervisor said he believes Waste Management made a competitive bid on the disposal contract because the company anticipates saving money on its hauling contract with the town.

Currently, Fudoli said, Waste Management under its hauling contract picks up town trash and transports it to Covanta’s waste-to-energy facility in Niagara Falls. Starting Jan. 1, Waste Management will haul the refuse to the company’s own transfer station on Walden Avenue in Depew, the supervisor said, saving considerable time and mileage.

Town officials weren’t sure why the town entered into a waste disposal contract that lasted 25 years, a period that saw the Niagara Falls facility change hands from Occidental Chemical Corp. to American Ref-fuel and, finally to Covanta.

The town expects to save a considerable sum of money under the terms of the new disposal contract, which was approved at Monday’s Town Board meeting.

The town in 2011 paid Covanta $742,620.08 for disposing of about 15,183 tons of solid waste, at $48.91 per ton, according to David J. Brown, the town’s director of administration and finance. For the first 11 months of this year, the town has paid $685,081.26 for about 13,520 tons at the current rate of $50.67 per ton.

The savings would be reflected in the budget for the town’s garbage and refuse district, not the town’s general fund.

The town already has set its general and special district budgets for 2013, so any savings generated by the lower garbage disposal fee would start to benefit those taxpayers in 2014, Fudoli and Brown said.

This garbage and refuse district covers property owners in the Town of Lancaster outside the Village of Depew.

Town officials tried to reach a new disposal contract that would include Depew, perhaps lowering costs further, but Fudoli said logistical issues such as the different expiration dates for the current agreements made an intermunicipal arrangement impossible.

email: swatson@buffnews.com