By Jann Wiswall
A public hearing was held during the Mansfield Town Board meeting on Monday, Oct. 21 to allow residents to comment on the tentative 2014 budget. No members of the public attended the hearing, so the budget was passed as presented.
One resident, Dan Hart, did attend the meeting to ask about progress toward installing some streetlights in Eddyville. The request for streetlights was made at last month’s meeting by Harry Knodt, who had obtained signatures from other residents who felt the streetlights would enhance safety and security for residents and drivers.
Town Supervisor Bob Keis said he had made numerous attempts to contact National Grid about costs associated with installing, maintaining and operating lights. He was still waiting for a return call from the company and hoped to have estimates available for the board to consider at the next regularly scheduled meeting in November.
In other business, Keis invited board members to attend a fall planning and zoning conference sponsored by Southern Tier West in Mayville on Nov. 14. Keis and Annie Widger, a member of the Mansfield Planning Board, are planning to attend to learn about changes to SEQR regulations and “Right to Farm” issues. Any board members interested in joining them were asked to follow up with Keis as soon as possible.
Keis said he had obtained bids for lumber, drywall and other materials needed to complete the offices and restrooms in the new highway garage. The low bidder was Sixt Lumber in Little Valley. The board approved a motion to accept the bid.
Keis also filled in the board on a property issue that recently came to the town’s attention when the county was asked by the property owner for a permit to install a septic system. The property, which is less than one acre, was purchased by the owner during a Sheriff’s tax sale. The town had previously approved the owner’s request to construct a 16’ x 24’ workshop on the property.
Without the town’s knowledge, the owners had moved into the workshop and made it their home. When the county representative and Mansfield’s building inspector went to the property to respond to the septic system request, they noted that not only was the property too small for a septic system, but it was also too small for a residence of any kind. In addition, the structure did not meet the town’s building code. For these and several other reasons, the property was condemned and the owners were required to vacate the property by a certain date. They may continue to use the structure as a workshop.
The board discussed the Highway Department’s next necessary purchase — a replacement vehicle for an aging plow truck that won’t make it through next year. While the purchase won’t be made until 2014, Keis asked the board to commit to its purchase at the evening’s meeting in order to get $70,000 in insurance replacement costs for one of the trucks burned in the Highway Department fire in October 2012. Those funds will be used toward the purchase of the new vehicle. Acting Highway Superintendent Brad Hurley and Supervisor Keis are recommending the purchase of a 2015 Mack GU 712 single axle AWD chassis with plow equipment at an estimated cost of $252,406.43. The board approved the planned purchase.
Financing the balance of the truck’s cost will be discussed after final 2013 carryover numbers are known and 2014 property tax revenues are received.
The next meeting of the Mansfield Town Board will be held on Monday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. at the Mansfield Town Hall.