By Jann Wiswall
At the July 15, 2013, Town of Mansfield board meeting, the Town of Mansfield’s Tax Assessor Robin Pearl asked the board to consider entering into a Coordinated Assessment Program (CAP) agreement with the Town of Allegany beginning in October 2013.
CAP is a state program that partners two or more towns in a county that share the same assessor, assessment equalization rate and assessment cycle. The term of the agreement is 10 years. Its intent is to ensure that towns with similar assessment profiles use the same standards of assessment. The state pays towns in such agreements $7 per taxable parcel in a lump sum. If the towns part ways on the agreement, each town must repay a pro-rated share of the lump sum to the state.
Currently, Allegany and Ellicottville are in a CAP agreement, but, according to Pearl, Ellicottville may be reconsidering the agreement. Allegany is interested in entering a CAP with Mansfield, partly to avoid having to repay the incentive share, Pearl said.
Mansfield Supervisor Bob Keis noted that Mansfield and Allegany would be a good fit for a CAP since they have about the same amount of taxable property and miles of roads to maintain. However, because Mansfield Councilmember James Hammond was absent at the July 15 meeting, Keis said he would like to table discussion on the matter until the August meeting when the entire board is present.
In other business, Keis reported that the town’s insurance agent, Jeff Miller, Evans Group, made the requested changes to the town policy per the discussion at the June board meeting. The changes resulted in a premium increase of about $600 over the original estimate of $20,297.
Keis also reported that the exorbitant increase in workers’ compensation premiums, caused by a county error that has impacted all municipalities, is probably going to have to be incurred by Mansfield since private insurers’ estimates for coverage exceed the county’s increased cost. And, even if the premiums were the same, the county would require towns that have open workers’ compensation cases to set aside funding for those employees in order to get out of its program, and that cost, too, is exorbitant.
Construction of the new highway department garage is well under way, with completion of the exterior expected by late August or early September. Keis said he is “very pleased with where we are.”
HoliMont’s WestMont Ridge development also is well under way, said Keis. Northrup Construction, which is serving as general contractor for the construction of the site’s infrastructure, provided Keis with three bids from engineering firms for inspection of the water and sewer lines as they are installed. The low bidder was Nussbaumer and Clark, which also is the firm that designed the system. HoliMont is paying the fee for inspection.
Finally, Keis reported that he had received a letter from the state’s auditors requesting a formal Plan of Action in response to four recommendations the state made for improvements to Mansfield’s fiscal policies and procedures. Keis assured the board that he had sent a four-page letter explaining the town’s policies several months ago and that he felt the town had sufficiently responded. However, Councilmember Robert Schmidt suggested that, since the state was still asking for information, Keis should call the auditors’ office to ask for specific guidance on what the Plan of Action should address that the letter did not.
The next meeting of the Mansfield Board will be held on Monday, Aug. 19 at 7 p.m.