By Jann Wiswall

The Town of Mansfield’s board opened bids for a trailer that was purchased, upgraded and used temporarily while the highway barn was being rebuilt after the October 2012 fire. One bid — the only bid received — was for $1,000, which the board accepted. Before the trailer is removed from the site, Town Supervisor Bob Keis will talk with the buyer about his plans for the trailer to ensure that, if it is moved to a location within Mansfield, it is properly permitted and used according to the town’s trailer regulations.

The board also opened bids for two of five overhead garage doors it has for sale. In the interest of full disclosure, Keis said that the bidder is a contractor building a pole barn on Keis’ property. The bidder offered $311 each for two doors. The board approved the bids and authorized Keis to look into selling the remaining three doors either for scrap or for another use.

Keis asked board members if they were interested in attending a May 7 training program for local government leaders at Houghton College. The program, sponsored by Southern Tier West, is a daylong event. Keis said Town Clerk Betty Jane Horning, Code Enforcement Officer Gil Wiswall, Highway Superintendent Brad Hurley and Keis all are planning to attend. Board members Larry Johnson and Nance Meeder both agreed to join the group.

Keis also updated the board on the status of Mansfield Bridge No. 32 on Kent Road. As reported at the last meeting, the town and county are in dispute over who owns the bridge and which is responsible for repairs. As a first step, the board hired an engineering firm to inspect the bridge. This work is to commence this week. An attorney also is working on determining ownership.

Keis reminded the board that the town’s bulky trash pickup is scheduled for April 28-29 and that residents should have their trash set out (up to 10 items) by Sunday, April 27. Each road will be picked up only once.

The board next spent some time discussing how the town will finance the new Mack truck that has been ordered.

The cost of the truck is just over $252,000. Insurance will cover about $67,000, leaving roughly $185 to be financed. Keis has received financing options from the truck’s dealer and is getting additional estimates from one or more banks.

Keis explained that, while he doesn’t think it wise to extend the loan for too many years, he also wants to be sure that the budget can afford the payments. If the term of the lease is for more than five years, the public must agree by referendum.

Board members agreed with Keis’ assessment that the term should be as brief as possible, but also noted that a five-year lease probably is too expensive for the highway department budget to absorb.

Hurley agreed, saying that his budget is already strapped and that even the smallest payment possible was going to be a challenge.

Keis said he would gather all leasing options, consult with Hurley, have the town attorney prepare a resolution and schedule a special board meeting in the next two weeks in order to keep the process on track for a potential referendum in May.

Hurley reported to the board that, after last month’s board meeting authorizing him to purchase two new fuel pumps, Hurley instead purchased two inline meters for the existing pumps in order to both save money and more accurately track fuel consumption per a state comptroller’s office mandate.

Hurley also has compared fuel pricing between the current provider, Griffith Energy and NOCO Energy, and found that NOCO’s prices are lower. The board approved his recommendation to change providers.

Hurley and Keis also asked the board to approve a trade-in for the highway department’s loader at a cost of $10,000. The board agreed.

Finally, Hurley asked the board to start thinking about increasing the highway budget for 2015. As he has explained on numerous occasions, the existing budget and small annual increases no longer keep pace with the actual costs of doing business.

“Almost everything we need is petroleum based, and prices have tripled in just the last 6-7 years,” he explained.

Board Member Greg Meyer said he understands Hurley’s concerns and would like him to come up with a proposal of what he thinks would be reasonable to meet his needs. Hurley agreed to do so.

The next meeting of the Mansfield board will be held on Monday, May 19 at 7 p.m. at the municipal building. All are welcome to attend.