To protect and server: $100K tech update planned

By Jason Hawk -

There was no computer on the Amherst mayor’s desk when Mark Costilow was elected.

Modernizing the city’s limited tech has been one of his priorities and now Costilow is asking council members for $100,000 to buy three servers to handle an ever-increasing need to record, store, and share data sensitive data.

“When I took office, one of my goals was to improve technology, and this is the first step,” he said.

His goal is to create an Amherst data center housed at the Amherst police station on North Lake Street.

The station has 24-hour security as well as the proper heating and cooling systems to protect electronics.

Police also have some grant money that can be used to pay for the machines, and the rest of the cost will be covered by television franchise fees Time Warner Cable pays the city. That means taxpayers won’t have to pick up a dime.

Pending approval by city council, Costilow wants to get the server project underway in early 2017.

He plans to ask Dec. 5 for roughly another $100,000 to buy fiber optic cable that will tie Amherst’s offices together, allowing information to be shared between the police station on North Lake, city hall on South Main Street, and the San Spring building on Park Avenue, which holds the building, treasurer, auditor, and utilities offices.

Auditor David Kukucka raised concerns about the project, saying his office and that of treasurer Richard Ramsey are required to have their own servers. They are needed in case of catastrophic hardware failure, he said.

Councilman Steve Bukovac, who sits on the technology committee that developed the tech improvement plan, also said there might be regulatory issues that require additional servers for Kukucka and Ramsey.

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

By Jason Hawk