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Town take-home vehicles limited

The Amherst Town Board voted Monday to implement a plan that shrinks the number of government vehicles that town employees can take home.

A recently adopted policy forbids take-home vehicles with "limited exceptions" for public health and safety reasons. Those exceptions, outlined Monday, would permit a total of 30 vehicles to be taken home year-round by employees.

Supervisor Barry Weinstein said that until now, town officials estimated that 59 to 76 vehicles were taken home by town employees.

"Part of the problem is nobody seems to know," Weinstein said.

Weinstein's resolution would allow eight vehicles to be taken home year-round in the Highway Department, 16 in the Police Department, one in the Building Department, four in the Engineering Department and one by the Emergency Services Department.

In addition, during cold-weather months, three more take-home vehicles would be available on a rotating basis to other Highway Department employees, as well as a plow truck at the Compost Facility.

The numbers of take-home vehicles approved by the board were recommended by department heads, and all of them contain special equipment, Weinstein said, adding that he would introduce a new resolution at the next regular meeting to get rid of excess vehicles.

In other news, the board:

*Formally voted to have town residents cast ballots at the Nov. 2 general election on the proposal to downsize the board from seven members to five. A special referendum was originally planned for last Tuesday.

*Formally approved the naming rights contract with Northtown Automotive for the former Pepsi Center. The official name of the well-known ice rink complex is now "The Northtown Center at Amherst."

*Moved to sidestep actions by the Historic Preservation Commission that would interfere with plans to dismantle and move a pre-1950s barn that stands on Main Street property next to the Erie Community College North Campus.

Historic preservation advocates said there were appalled by the board's actions.


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