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Amherst town and school officials might be able to save "hundreds of thousands of tax dollars" if they would start working together to fulfill mutual needs, William L. Kindel, Republican candidate for Amherst supervisor, said Monday.

For example, accountants say the processing of a single purchase order costs about $50, yet the town and Sweet Home, Williamsville and Amherst school districts each has its own purchasing and payment processing system, Kindel said.

"By coordinating efforts, perhaps we can work together, place one order (for certain goods) and save thousands of dollars a year," he said in a campaign statement.

Kindel said he has written the three school superintendents to see if they are interested in exploring some form of collaboration.

"At the core of the concept is the expensive reality that there are many areas of duplicated services and expenses with three separate school districts and the town," he said.

"This will no doubt require a lot of investigation and, perhaps, some modification of state laws. More importantly, it will require a tremendous amount of cooperation between our school districts and the Town of Amherst," the candidate said.

Meanwhile, Daniel J. Ward, a Democrat running for the Town Board, proposed legislation to protect from development forever the northern 500 acres of a planned 1,260-acre nature preserve in northwestern Amherst. Legal safeguards already protect the southern 750 acres.

Ward is an attorney who served as town supervisor from 1990 to 1994.

"This (local law) is being proposed now in response to the overwhelming public demand to preserve this parcel for passive, recreational use. It would give the town a firm legal basis for enforcing the obvious will of the people," Ward said.

Ward said the proposed law is modeled in some ways after laws establishing a "forever wild" Adirondack Mountains forest preserve, strictly regulating the parcel's use and preventing activities such as cutting trees or spoiling wetlands.

Referring to town officials' public statements in favor of the new nature preserve, Ward said: "Talk is cheap about saving our forest lands and wetlands. If you are going to talk the talk, you should be prepared to walk the walk, and that means more than just walking around this wonderful parcel and somehow hoping it is preserved."

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