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Amherst has done it. So has Buffalo. Cheektowaga will do it this fall.
And if some West Seneca officials have their way, town residents also may soon be towing their garbage to the curb in large plastic totes.
That was the chief topic Wednesday at a West Seneca Town Board work session as board members heard from Matthew D. English, the town's superintendent of highways, sanitation and buildings and grounds, about the benefits of garbage and recycling totes for the collection of solid waste and recyclables.
"All the way around, it's a cost-saving measure, and it's a quality-of-life issue," said Supervisor Sheila M. Meegan, who favors totes. "It's not something we can afford not to do going forward."
Meegan said that while the town is still in its early investigative stages, she thinks totes are the way to go for many reasons, chief among them the need to curb the infestation of rats in parts of the town. The rodents, not finding tasty garbage in other communities with totes, are migrating to places like West Seneca.
"Soon, every town will have [garbage totes]," Meegan said. "If every town but West Seneca has these totes, we're going to become [a haven] for the rats."
She said she's been in touch with officials from Lackawanna and Orchard Park who may want to join West Seneca's bid for the receptacles to implement tote programs of their own.
Preliminary figures presented by English Wednesday showed the cost of 15,000 garbage totes for West Seneca to be about $700,000. The containers would be town-owned and "go with the property." They have an estimated life span of 10 years.
Meegan hopes to have the totes rolled out by March or April. The town also is eyeing totes for recycling in 2014.
Meegan said besides getting ahead and staying ahead of the rat problem in town, garbage totes have environmental and fiscal benefits. The lidded totes, she said, will reduce loose trash debris around town and at the same time - with recycling totes in tandem - will promote recycling and cut the amount of trash and the town's costs for tipping solid wastes.
If residents seem interested and the totes are not going to result in tax increases, it is likely that both Councilmen Eugene P. Hart and John M. Rusinski also will come down in favor of totes. The measure is expected to come up for a vote at an upcoming meeting.
Hart, who expressed cautious support for totes, said he favors giving residents a chance to be heard before the Town Board takes any action. "I want to give the public some chance to put some input on it," he said, acknowledging that some residents - senior citizens especially - have reservations about hauling the 95-gallon totes to the curb. Hart suggests the town offer 65-gallon containers for seniors interested in the smaller variety.
"I'm not sure there's consensus yet," Hart said of the board's feelings about implementing totes. "The cost is an issue. I've got a feeling, though, that we'll probably pass it."
Rusinski acknowledged "there's definitely a need" for totes in West Seneca. "If everybody else does it but West Seneca, where do you think all the rats are going to go?" he asked. But he wants to make sure totes are a money-saving endeavor with no immediate tax hike required.

email: tpignataro@buffnews.com