Niagara Gazette

Local News

December 10, 2012

Donation causes stir

Niagara Gazette — Some Lewiston residents feel it's inappropriate for the Lewiston Town Board to accept a donation from a waste management company it's members are publicly fighting.

That was the message following Monday's Lewiston board work session, where speakers were permitted to address the town's recent acceptance of $5,000 from CWM Chemical Services for its ice skating rink at Academy Park.

"I think the town should return the money," concerned resident Karen Allen said. "This is going to look bad, like they're supporting the town looking for an expansion."

Much of the public concern over the $5,000 centers on the possible expansion of the disposal company's facility, including a new landfill. Opponents - including the town board - have argued the company doesn't provide a public good, a necessary aspect of any talks to expand the site.

The company will lose the ability to dispose of waste in Lewiston in 2014 if it cannot show the expanded site is in the public interest.

Members of the citizen group Residents for Responsible Government feel the town accepting donations like this could prompt the company to argue CWM does serve an interest to the public.

"The Town cannot assure residents that its acceptance of discretionary monies from CWM will not be used against the town in upcoming regulatory proceedings," RRG representatives said in a joint, written statement. "Therefore, we believe the town board has an obligation to return the CWM funds and to remove and refute all associated advertisements for CWM."

April Fideli, president of RRG, also raised concerns expressed in a letter written by RRG board member Tim Henderson, a life-long Lewiston resident who was unable to attend the Monday meeting.

In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Niagara Gazette, Henderson asks the town and Supervisor Steve Reiter to consider the fact that CWM, despite many photo opportunities and check presentations, still deals with chemicals and other destructive items which can, and he argues, do, cause problems in the community.

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