Approved: $150K truck purchase for electric dept.

By Jason Hawk -

A 47-foot Versalift bucket truck will be purchased for the Amherst electric department, replacing an old model at the end of its lifespan.

City council agreed Nov. 14 to fund foreman Joseph Szabo’s request for the heavy-duty pickup truck at a cost up to $150,000.

Szabo said the truck workers now use is 14 years old. Rust and wear-and-tear are pushing repair costs through the roof — except the Ashland service company that normally does such work refuses now because the vehicle is too old.

“We used that truck as much as we could” and now the expense is too great, he said. In the past five years, about $25,000 has been put into maintenance and upkeep.

The old truck will be sold, most likely through an online auction.

Council fast-tracked approval of the purchase, supporting it unanimously.

In other business, council put its final stamp on a “social host” ordinance that will give stiffer penalties to parents who allow underage drinking parties.

The measure was proposed by Amherst police Lt. Mark Cawthon. City reps wrestled with the implications of levying criminal charges up to first-degree misdemeanors against parents.

They generally agreed parents should be more responsible but a great deal of discussion was given to how police should address kids who steal beer from the refrigerator versus parents who provide a cooler and tell teens to have at it.

In the end, it passed 6-1. Councilman Joe Miller cast the lone dissenting vote.

Other old business expected to wrap up before the month is out includes final approval of a road-widening project on Kresge Drive, which would begin in the spring.

Developer Victor Nardini has agreed to pay half the cost of the $130,000 plan, which would improve traffic flow in front of the new Century Plaza building he is raising.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

By Jason Hawk