After a year of study, the Village of Gowanda is ending its decades-old practice of supplying curbside garbage pickup.
Letters are now being sent to 1,400 residents reminding them that they need to either make plans to dispose of their trash at the Dayton Transfer Station themselves, or contract-out to have someone haul away their trash from a list of six recommended companies.
According to Mayor Heather McKeever, the cost for providing curbside pickup and dealing with recyclables would have forced the village to raise the property tax rate by 5%.
Not only would it exceed Governor Cuomo's tax cap, but residents said they could not afford it, explained McKeever.
Without the curbside pickup, residents will see a 2 1/2% decrease in the tax levy.
"It was just not fiscally feasible for us to continue," said the Mayor.
However, there are concerns that seniors and others with low income will struggle to dispose of garbage because of having to pay for the service on their own.
Mayor McKeever said she has asked the recommended trash haulers to provide a senior discount, and overall, the mayor said she believes it will be cheaper for residents in the long run.
But some residents fear that people will begin stockpiling or burning trash, while others will leave it around the village or put it in business dumpsters.
Mayor McKeever said three police officers are being trained to perform double duty as code enforcement officers to make sure garbage is properly disposed - fines will be issued with repeat offenders being held accountable.
7 Eyewitness News reporter Ed Reilly spent the day in Gowanda talking with residents and officials about the change.