Amherst Supervisor Satish B. Mohan on Thursday handed a check for $8.3 million to an official of DRC Emergency Services, the contractor hired to clean up the town following the destructive October snowstorm.
The check represents payment for the first three weeks of work on the cleanup contract, which runs until next week.
Despite the expiration date, Paul Bryant, DRC regional manager, said the Alabama-based contractor has agreed to assist the town with tree removals and other work well into next spring.
Amherst, one of the communities hit hardest by the Oct. 12-13 storm, will likely spend a total of $16 million or more to complete the removal of limbs and trees damaged by heavy, wet early season snow, officials said.
DRC crews are finishing the third and final phase of the contract, which calls for the removal of severely damaged town-owned trees along streets and highways, Bryant said.
Next week, tree removals will stop until after the holidays while an Erie County arborist assesses the remaining trees that have been marked for possible removal.
Mohan said the town advanced the $8.3 million to the company and will present the canceled check to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for reimbursement.
Under the cleanup rules, FEMA will repay the town and other local governments for 75 percent of their federally approved cleanup costs. The remaining 25 percent will be paid by the state.
Mohan thanked DRC and expressed pleasure with the cleanup effort. Since late October, the company has conducted three rounds of tree and limb pickups on most town streets. The only remaining areas that have not had a third round of pickups are those along about 40 miles of county and state roads. Mohan said he is trying to reach county officials to coordinate the work on those roads.