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A resolution by many town boards to stop plowing county roads after Jan. 1 unless the county pays more for the work was called "an idle threat" Monday night by an Amherst councilman.

Local officials won't be able to use a cost disagreement with the county as an excuse to residents for leaving roads unplowed, veteran Republican Councilman Harold J. Collier predicted during a meeting of the Town Board.

County Executive Gorski "knows (plowing) will be done. It's basically an idle threat," Collier said of a snowplowing measure by town highway superintendents that he said only Amherst and one other town has failed to support.

Claiming it costs an average of $2,300 per lane mile to plow county roads, towns want the county reimbursement level of $1,100 per lane mile increased to $1,500 next year. The county has offered $1,175.

Failure to boost payments to $1,500 per lane mile will result in towns turning back to the county after Jan. 1 the county roads they now plow, according to the resolution approved by more than 20 towns.

In explaining Amherst breaking ranks with its neighbors, Collier said, "You know darn well we're going to plow because the health and safety of the people comes before any cost dispute with the county."

Instead, the Amherst board approved a resolution simply asking the county for $1,500 per lane mile -- "leaving out the if-you-don't-we-won't part," Collier said in sponsoring the measure.

But Democratic Supervisor Daniel J. Ward said, "something stronger is in order," adding that he would have voted for the resolution approved by the other towns.

"Your intent is good, but we can't keep putting the town in the position of picking up the chickens hatched by every other government without putting our taxpayers in great risk," Ward told Collier.

"The highway superintendent by state law has to keep the roads clear to the best of his ability," Collier said.

"I don't want our residents thinking that if we don't plow their (county) road, the county will come in and do it because they won't -- they can't," Collier told the board.

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