By Jann Wiswall
Mansfield Town Supervisor Bob Keis reported at the town board meeting on Monday, July 20 that he, the Ellicottville Fire Department (EFD), its commissioner and the Board of Fire Commissioners have agreed on the boundaries of a newly formed fire district in Mansfield.
Currently, about two-thirds of Mansfield is covered by its own fire department. The other third is covered by the Little Valley Fire Department.
In practice, however, when an emergency occurs in Mansfield areas near Ellicottville, the EFD usually arrives on scene before the Mansfield FD due to its distance and the fact that the MFD is much smaller and has fewer volunteers.
The new district abuts the border of Ellicottville and is physically several miles closer to the Ellicottville Fire Hall than it is to the Mansfield Fire Hall.
The intent of the agreement is to provide faster emergency response in this area.
Roughly speaking, the area to be covered by the EFD includes Ellicottville Maples Road to Hencoop Hollow, up Watson to Windsor, across Windsor to Rt. 242, up 242 to Whig, and back into Ellicottville.
Properties on both sides of these roads are included in the new district.
An official map of the area will be shared with the community once the contract is finalized by the end of 2015.
Meanwhile, Mansfield is still working with the Ellicottville entities to calculate fire taxes for the new district.
Ellicottville property owners currently pay less fire tax ($.53 per $1000 of assessed property value) than do Mansfield property owners, who pay $.87/$1000. The new Ellicottville/Mansfield fire district property owners likely will be taxed at the same rate as Ellicottville property owners.
Because fewer properties will be paying into the other two Mansfield fire districts, those property owners may pay a few cents more (but no more than 2% more). Those numbers will be determined by the Mansfield board after the Little Valley district is renegotiated and final calculations can be made.
In other business, the board reviewed a preliminary 2015-16 municipal insurance policy renewal from The Evans Agency. The policy provides coverage for all property, including buildings, vehicles and tools, and provides liability, crime, fire, theft, disability and other important coverage.
Account Executive Randy Glenn was asked to double check or change a few items for the board; a final draft with updated premium numbers will be provided before the next board meeting, which is scheduled for Monday, August 17 at 7 p.m. in the Mansfield Town Hall.