2006-12-27 / Local News

Towns flush sewer problems

Clarence approves $400,000 sewer bill payment to Amherst
by KIMBERLY M. KARCHER Clarence Editor

After months of Scrooge-like behavior, the towns of Clarence and Amherst have finally flushed their discrepancies over the town’s sewer bill.

Whether it’s in the spirit of the season or not, the Town Board approved a motion, 5-0, to pay the Town of Amherst $400,000 in sewer dues.

“This is the result of finally getting information that took seven years to acquire,” said Councilman Joe Weiss following his vote.

Supervisor Kathy Hallock said that the amount is not the entire bill, which is around $652,000 in total, but she is happy things are “moving along.”

“We haven’t applied a new formula for future sewer bills,” Hallock said. “But so far, the items we have been asking for have been forthcoming so we wanted to go forward with an initial payment.”

Hallock said she has seen a new level of cooperation in recent months.

“I know since I’ve been here (Supervisor) in 2002 we have been asking for information and documentation regarding the sewer bills and we are now just getting them,” Hallock said.

The town hired special council to help sort out the bill and Hallock said improved communication was a key factor.

“Whenever we said anything we would send it to a number of people in Amherst...lawyers, the town engineer, the supervisor,” Hallock said. “That way we knew everyone was informed. But, whatever made this work in the end, we are happy with it.”

Councilman Joe Weiss said he hopes to have the entire debt paid off by the end of January

“I applaud the new administration over in Amherst for getting us this information so quickly,” Weiss said. “It’s been a testament to both towns and I just have to thank Pam Smith (Director of Administration and Fiance) and Kathy Hallock for taking the time to sit down and go over the numbers.”

Weiss added it may be the time of year that helped the towns get in the swing of things

“Well hey, we believe it is better to give than receive,” he said with a laugh. “And right now, our hearts are swelling. We just feel this renewed sense of motivation to get this thing settled and we did it.”

Hallock said the town is still receiving requested information and will continue to sort through the remaining balance while working on a new bill formula for future payments.

Amherst Council Member Shelly Schratz had been working towards a settlement for years and said she was happy with the resolution to make the payment.

“It shows that three women in a room can accomplish more than three men in a room,” she said about herself, Hallock and Smith reaching the settlement in a meeting approximately three weeks ago.

Schratz planned to pickup the check later this week and said Amherst town attorney Tom Jones would be working with Clarence representatives to solidify a formula for future payments.

The Clarence Town Board will hold its next regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 7 at Town Hall, One Town Place.

(Amherst Associate Editor Jessica L. Finch contributed to this article.)

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