This week’s speaker was Barry Weinstein, M.D., Supervisor, Town of Amherst.  Dr. Weinstein, a family practice physician and attorney, has a long history of public service including: 14 years on the Williamsville School Board, where he also served as President; 10 years representing the 15th District in the Erie County Legislature; and as an Amherst Council member. He is in his 2nd consecutive 4-year term as Town Supervisor, being first elected to that position in 2009.   Dr. Weinstein has been recognized for his firm stance against property tax increases, his “no nonsense” attitude, and his public accessibility.

Dr. Barry’s election focus mantra was fourfold. First, reduce the size and cost of government and lower taxes. Second, apply creative solutions to Amherst’s flooding, sinking homes, deer and sidewalk problems.  Third, modify rezoning regulations to increase development and revitalization of commercial areas.   Fourth, reform Amherst government including downsizing the Town Board and redefining and restructuring the Town’s branches of government to improve efficiency.  He also is a board member of the Amherst Industrial Development Agency (AIDA) and the Erie County IDA. 

Dr. Weinstein and his family have been residents of the Town for almost 40-years.

Highlights of his presentation included:

·         In first 3 years as Supervisor, Town expenses decreased.

·         Privatized composting (losing $400M per year; sold for $1.5MM) and the Amherst Museum (Town still provides a subsidy)

·         Wastewater treatment facility is a top issue:

   Built in the late 70’s with a useful life of 30 years

   Built in the late 70’s with a useful life of 30 years


  Town was cited for adding too much 02 to water

  Put $28MM in the facility over last 4 years; no end in sight for need to invest

  Capacity is 125 million gallons per day (up from 36 MGD in 1999); big rains tax that capacity; normal demand is approx. 25 MGD.

·         Collective bargaining with 5 unions is another challenge

   Have instituted a 2-tier wage and benefit structure

   Just completed binding arbitration with the Police Department

·         Third major challenge is litigation—Wehrle Drive incident in 2006/7. Judgment for $31MM, reduced on appeal to $17MM. Major struggles with    AIG, the insurer.

·         Discussed Hyatt Place—probably behind us

·         Banners over Main Street—probably not going to be permitted for a long time, if ever, because of injury accident in 2012.

·         Westwood CC was bought by speculators and they have revised the Club. They are drafting a proposal to develop: commercial space, hotel, housing.

·         Relocation of Town Hall is dead—too expensive

o   May take over library next door (library is run by County, but the building is owned by the Town).