Saturday , August 19 2017
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Mansfield/County Bridge Dispute Continues – Town Roads Suffer Winter Damage

By Jann Wiswall

As a follow up to last month’s meeting, Mansfield Supervisor Bob Keis updated the board on the status of Mansfield Bridge No. 32 on Kent Road at its meeting on Monday, May 19. As previously reported, the town and Cattaraugus County are in dispute over who owns the bridge and who is responsible for repairs or replacement.

As a first step, the town board hired engineering firm E&M Engineers and Surveyors to inspect the condition of the bridge. The firm’s report indicates that structural and hydraulic repairs or replacement of the bridge should be considered in the long term. In the short term, they recommended that filling the scour hole with new stone fill and replacing a waler brace would make the bridge adequate for a maximum 20-ton vehicle weight.

With that information in mind, the board discussed next steps. The board asked Keis and Town Clerk Betty Jane Horning to try to locate more documentation regarding the original bridge and to talk to people who may have been involved in its construction at the time. The board also authorized Keis to hire an attorney who specializes in such matters to determine ownership and responsibility.

Board Approves Bonds

The board has decided that it will issue bonds to finance the new Mack truck that has been ordered and should be delivered within the month.

The cost of the truck is just over $252,000. Fire insurance recovery monies will cover about $62,000, leaving $190,000 to be financed at 3.5 percent over 10 years through Cattaraugus County Bank in Little Valley. Annual payments will come to about $25,000.

The board had considered several other financing options, but as Keis explained, “this is the most appropriate way to go because it fits the town’s situation best.”

The board approved the resolution by roll call vote.

Keis also asked the board to allow him to lock in the propane purchase price for next winter by August of this year in order to save money and ensure that the town has reliable access to the fuel throughout the season. The board agreed and Keis will work with Holland Propane to prepare an agreement.

Town Highway Superintendent Brad Hurley reported that portions of six of the town’s roads had been badly damaged by recent rains and flooding. He said he documented and prepared a damage report and sent it to the county, which may be applying for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds to help with repairs countywide.

The next meeting of the Mansfield Board will be held on June 16 at 7 p.m. at the municipal building.

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