By Jann Wiswall

Since its last monthly meeting, the Town of Mansfield board has been busy working with Town Engineer Mark Alianello on drafting and finalizing plans for the new highway barn that will replace the old barn that burned down in October 2012. At its meeting Monday, Feb. 18, 2013, the board approved the final version of the plans and passed a motion to advertise for bids.

The bids being requested at this time include: Contract No. 1 for a pre-engineered metal building; Contract No. 2 for new concrete floor slab; Contract No. 3 for concrete materials only for floor slab; and Contract No. 4 for new overhead doors. Depending on pricing, the town will select either Contract No. 2 or No. 3. If the materials-only bid is accepted, the town will subcontract out the flooring installation on its own.

Bids will be opened at a special meeting of the board at 7 p.m. on March 11.

While the cost of the new 60-foot by 180-foot barn is still to be determined, initial estimates put it in the $540,000 -$650,000 range. The insurance settlement should cover approximately $360,000 of that. The town likely will have to borrow a portion of the difference.

Town Supervisor Bob Keis reviewed monies received and expected from the insurance company in detail at the meeting, saying that the total received to date is $874,739, which probably represents about 75 percent of the final settlement. In addition to the barn, the insurance company has or will reimburse the town for the loss of six vehicles, readying the cold storage building for use this winter, business and personal property, and other items on a very long list of losses.

Other Business:

Crystal Abers, director of the Cattaraugus County Department of Economic Development, Planning and Tourism, attended the board meeting to describe the services her department offers and to apprise the board of the county hazard mitigation plan that was recently updated.

The board also discussed Local Law 2013 for Code Enforcement Administration, providing for enforcement of the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code. Councilmember Jim Hammond still had some questions about the new law, so the discussion was tabled until the March meeting when Mansfield’s Code Enforcement Officer Gil Wiswall would be invited to provide clarification.

Keis reported that he is preparing to meet with the town’s insurance agent in June to renew the town policy. Given what has been learned as a result of October’s fire, Keis suggested the board should carefully re-evaluate the policy, especially with regard to the valuation of the town’s vehicles. He said he believes that by adjusting those values, he may be able to lower the town’s premiums.

Finally, the board discussed at length the issue of purchasing a new grader to replace the one lost in the fire. Deputy Highway Superintendent Brad Hurley reported that he had received bids for a John Deere and a Caterpillar grader – which were similarly priced. He noted that, from the department’s perspective, a decision needed to be made quickly, saying that he will need the grader the minute the weather breaks. The board agreed that the matter was urgent and ultimately approved purchase of the John Deere grader on a 10-year payment plan with the intent to pay off the note more quickly.

The next meeting of the Town of Mansfield board will be held at 7 p.m. on March 18. As always, members of the public are invited to attend.

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