WHEATFIELD – Supervisor Robert B. Cliffe said Monday that he and Councilman Arthur W. Gerbec are planning a day trip to Ohio to visit a Quasar Energy Group facility.
The company, which is opening a facility on Liberty Drive to convert food waste and sewage sludge into methane that can be used to generate electricity, has run into heavy public opposition on its plans to dig lagoons to store the byproduct, which it wants to provide to farmers as fertilizer.
The material’s safety was questioned at a noisy public meeting Aug. 29 at Wheatfield Post 1451, American Legion, where numerous speakers complained that the byproduct, which Quasar calls “equate,” is toxic.
The company denies that, although if the material is spread on fields, there is a waiting period before the field can be used.
Cliffe said he and Gerbec are trying to recruit a farmer to go on the trip “to ask farmer questions. I wouldn’t know what to ask.”
Planning Board Chairman Richard W. Muscatello also intends to make the trip, which is not yet scheduled.
In response to an audience question, Cliffe said the town has not received an application from Quasar for any lagoon. Quasar had plans for a single large lagoon on Raymond Road in Cambria, but that town blocked the proposal.
Quasar spokesmen said at the Aug. 29 meeting that they intend to seek small storage ponds on individual farms in Wheatfield, Cambria and Lewiston.
Cliffe said Wheatfield’s review of such requests would begin with the Planning Board.
In another matter at Monday’s meeting, the Town Board voted to buy a used 2009 Ford Crown Victoria from Lockport Auto Store for $8,000 for use as a town constable patrol car.
Chief Constable Robin R. Zastrow said that was a net price after a $1,500 trade-in for the worst of the town’s three current police cars, a 2001 Crown Victoria with 80,000 miles on it.“I could not justify putting another taxpayer penny into that vehicle to make it safe,” Zastrow said.
There are three vehicles in the fleet, which Zastrow said is being reduced to two.
The newly purchased car has 61,000 miles on it. “This is a gem in the world of used police cars,” Zastrow said. “It was probably used by a chief or someone high-ranking.”
Also, the board hired Wendy E. Salvati of WWS Planning for $21,000 to complete an agricultural master plan for the town.
Also approved was the purchase of a new John Deere commercial lawn mower for $7,763 from Drake Lawn & Garden. The Water and Sewer Department’s existing mower will be auctioned online by Auctions International, director Rich Donner said.
The board also approved installation of storm sewers for an outlet to a tributary of Bull Creek for the second and third lakes in the Timber Lakes subdivision off Shawnee Road. The third lake was just completed, Town Engineer Timothy J. Zuber said. The subdivision has three phases to go, he added.