Garbage totes similar to those used in Amherst and Buffalo could be on the way to the City of Lackawanna.
The idea appears to be gaining traction among city officials, who hope to reduce the costs of the totes by teaming up with other area municipalities for a larger-volume purchase.
Preliminary estimates for 5,000 totes – which are being touted as a way to help counter the city’s growing rat problem – were pegged at $200,000 to $250,000, City Attorney Norman A. LeBlanc Jr. told members of the City Council at their Monday night meeting.
LeBlanc has been in discussions with West Seneca Town Attorney Shawn P. Martin on a potential collaborative request for proposals.
At a work session in September, West Seneca Town Board members discussed the possible purchase of 15,000 totes at an estimated cost of $700,000.
Both municipalities figure they might be able to get those costs down by entering into an intermunicipal agreement for a collaborative purchase.
The more totes bought, the greater the likelihood that the per-unit price of the receptacles goes down, said LeBlanc.
“We’re trying to get other municipalities, such as Orchard Park, to come on board,” he said.
City officials also were in touch with representatives from the Town of Cheektowaga, but the town already had put its tote purchase out to bid.
Mayor Geoffrey M. Szymanski sought a work session with the Council to discuss the totes and other future projects and potential funding.
Some residents at Monday’s meeting weren’t convinced the totes should be such a high priority in a city of many other needs.
John Kwasniewski Jr., of Center Street, asked Council members if the city had done enough enforcement of a law on the books requiring residents to keep a lid on their garbage cans.
The city couldn’t possibly cite all of their current violators of that ordinance, responded Ralph D. Miranda, the city’s economic development director, who also oversees code enforcement.
“The totes will help because those lids are attached,” said Miranda.
Diane Kozak, who is running on the Republican line for the 2nd Ward Council seat, asked the Council members how they planned to pay for totes.
In Buffalo, she noted, the city implemented a garbage tax with its tote system.
Also Monday, Teresa Drive resident Danielle J. Pecoraro objected to a measure the Council adopted Oct. 1 banning bird feeders in the city. Council members approved the measure as another way to combat the city’s rodent problem.
Pecoraro, who also co-owns a Wild Birds Unlimited store in Blasdell., said an outright ban was overreaching.
“When done properly, feeding the birds will not attract unwanted rodents,” she said.
Council President Henry R. Pirowski said improper bird feeding was a “contributing factor” to the rodent problem in some areas of the city and that the new law was intended to give code enforcers a tool to pursue chronic offenders.