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Amherst to increase? borrowing for repairs Treatment plant? required upgrades

The Amherst Town Board has agreed to borrow more money to support the town's wastewater treatment plant, and the amount of debt in the town overall is climbing because the repair and replacement needs of the town's aging sewage plant are outstripping the pace at which old debts can be retired, Comptroller Darlene Carroll said.

The board has agreed to borrow an additional $660,000 toward an initial $2.08 million project to upgrade sewage basins at the plant because the town's construction consultant grossly underestimated the cost for the repair. The town subsequently borrowed less money than was required to complete the project, said Jeffrey Angiel, assistant town engineer.

The board subsequently awarded STC Construction a $2.89 million contract on its bid to construct a sludge collection system in the equalization basins at the sewage treatment plant. STC construction offered the lowest bid of four companies bidding on the project.

In other news, the board:

* Approved a resolution to beef up security at Town Hall because of complaints about residents intimidating town employees. The board has agreed to spend $23,240 to upgrade the building's digital surveillance system.

* Agreed to create a "Distressed Property Trust Fund" to help cover the administrative costs associated with maintaining or repairing neglected and derelict properties.

* Got an update in a closed afternoon session from Supervisor Barry Weinstein about negotiations with the proposed Audubon Golf Course-Westwood Country Club land swap. Weinstein told The Buffalo News he's had a single meeting with representatives of Westwood recently, with both sides looking at a timetable regarding decision making. Another meeting may be held next week.

* Approved an agreement in which GAR Associates will handle the property assessments, revaluations and assessment challenges associated with commercial properties. The need has surfaced since longtime town assessor Harry Williams retired. The agreement may be terminated by either side with 30 days advance notice.

* Approved providing an additional $8,000 for the Police Department to buy a new police cruiser. A prior amount had been approved, with an older police car tagged to be traded in for $8,000. However, that car was totaled in May in a crash during an emergency call.

Readers can review the full live blog from Monday's Town Board meeting by visiting