Parking, excavator, cable plan clear council

By Jason Hawk -

A series of quick Amherst city council votes had big results on March 26.

The first repealed several local ordinances regarding handicap parking spaces that conflicted with state law.

As written, the old and outdated codes were effectively preventing Amherst police officers from writing tickets for violations, said mayor Mark Costilow. An emergency vote updated the language.

The second vote approved the purchase of a 2018 CAT mini-hydraulic excavator for the city water and sewer departments.

The retail sticker price was $180,000 but by buying through the state purchasing program it was cut down to about $125,000.

“This is the type of equipment we rent quite often, so this will be money saved over the long run,” Costilow told council. Rental costs about $6,000 per month.

The machine can be used for fixing water line breaks and making water line replacements, the mayor said. It will be pressed into immediate use on the Lincoln Street storm sewer project.

The third vote provided “the last piece of the puzzle” for WideOpenWest — or WOW! — to install cable television and Internet service in Amherst.

City leaders agreed to lease a 400- to 500-square-foot piece of group near the Amherst electrical complex to WOW! for $1,500 per year. At about 25 by 18 feet, it won’t take up much space but it will hold equipment that ties the company’s infrastructure together.

The cable company plans to roll out its hybrid fiber and coaxial network this summer and fall to new subscribers inside the city limits, offering a competitor to Spectrum.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

By Jason Hawk