The system for collecting garbage and recycling is about to see a big overhaul in the city.
The Niagara Falls City Council approved a pair of measures put forth by Mayor Paul Dyster's administration at its meeting Monday night, setting the wheels in motion for the deployment of a tote bin system similar to those used by other municipalities in the area like Buffalo and Cheektowaga.
City Administrator Donna Owens, who took the lead on the system overhaul, said the new bin system will increase recycling rates, cut down on litter and vermin issues and save the city money.
"The more the city recycles, the more revenue they receive and the more they save by reducing disposal costs," she said.
Owens negotiated a new five-year contract with Modern Corp. of Lewiston — the city's current refuse hauler — that will se the new totes distributed and a recycling education program implemented, moves that are expected to increase the city's abysmal recycling rate of 4 percent.
The company will pick up trash once a week and recycling every other week on the same day. The city will pay Modern Corp. approximately $1.7 million a year, according to projections in the contract.
The city will buy the tote bins, a 64-gallon bin for garbage and a 96-gallon bin for recycling, from the Michigan company Cascade Cart Solutions at a total cost of $2.1 million. The totes will also come with microchips and and tracking software to avoid loss. The company will offer support for the software for 10 years as part of the agreement with the city, according to the measure from Dyster's office.
Both measures were approved unanimously, however, some council members raised concerns on the specifics of the collection system overhaul.
Council Chairman Charles Walker said he wants the administration to be ready to roll out the program when the bins begin arriving in August with a well thought-out plan to avoid issues like a lack of enforcement for those who do not properly use the bins or citizen complaints from those who do not understand the system.