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Amherst addresses damaged water lines

Amherst officials are trying to determine what to do about some damaged water lines that were discovered during a road construction project.

The heavily used intersection of Maple and Hopkins roads is being repaved with concrete as part of a county project. In the process of doing this work, however, contractors have discovered that the old water lines at the intersection are heavily deteriorated and in need of replacement.

The water lines there have broken twice so far during the current repaving process.

So Erie County officials Monday asked the Town Board if it would like the current repaving contractor to replace the water lines -- at town cost -- while the road is dug up instead of having the town incur the greater cost of replacing the pipes at a later date.

Board members debated the matter at length at Monday's work session. They want to go ahead and do the work, but given the estimated $30,000 price tag, they don't know if they can give the county the green light without a full open bidding process for the job.

"Frankly, I don't know what I'm going to do," said Supervisor Barry Weinstein.

The board authorized Weinstein to negotiate and sign any contracts for the water line replacement, if warranted. Weinstein said he's asking the Erie County Water Authority to chip in for the repair costs.

In other news, the board voted to:

Change the "Amherst, New York" lettering on the landmark blue water tower near the I-290/I-90 interchange from the current black script to a simpler, black sans serif Arial font. Board members said they think the new font is easier to read.

Weinstein remained opposed to spending $10,000 to put any lettering on the tower, but was outvoted, 4-1.

Adopt a new town law that affects property owners who use waterproof tarps to cover damaged roofs to temporarily protect their buildings. The new law is designed to keep people from using these tarps as permanent fixes and requires that such tarps remain for no longer than 60 days.

Spend $246,628 to purchase 20 new police vehicles.

Borrow $100,000 for upgrades to various traffic signals in town.

Finally, during the board's earlier work session, Comptroller Darlene Carroll reported that the town golf courses continue to lose money. In 2011, the courses cost $282,408, with expenses higher than anticipated and revenues much lower than anticipated.