No Funding to Maintain Potter Hill Road

By Jann Wiswall

Evans Agency insurance agent Jeff Miller reviewed the proposed insurance policy for the coming year for the Town of Mansfield board at its Monday, June 16, meeting.

The policy provides extensive coverage for the town, which has had first-hand experience with major insurance claims after the October 2012 fire that destroyed the town’s highway barn and all of its contents.

Now that the new highway barn is completed, the 2014-15 policy covers it and all other municipal buildings for full replacement cost. It also covers vehicle replacement cost and all other standard coverage for a municipality of Mansfield’s size. The $4 million policy will cost the town approximately $22,700 per year, an increase of about $400 over last year.

The board agreed the proposed new policy provides adequate coverage. Miller offered the board the option to add terrorism, flood and earthquake insurance at additional cost. The board did not feel that such coverage was necessary.

Potter Hill Road

Three Mansfield residents attended the meeting to ask the board about its plans for Potter Hill Road. The residents had heard a rumor that the road would be closed. Two of the residents are Amish. They and many other Amish use the road as a cut through to shorten their trip to Cattaraugus. They hoped that the town would keep the road open and had a petition signed by some 50 people to that effect.

Potter Hill is a half mile-long road about half of which is in Mansfield and half is in New Albion. It is surrounded by state land. Neither municipality has been maintaining the road for decades. New Albion has signage stating that the road is not maintained. For vehicle safety reasons, Mansfield recently erected a sign saying it is closed.

According to Mansfield Supervisor Bob Keis, the state would like both municipalities to formally abandon the road.

Mansfield Highway Superintendent Brad Hurley has been in touch with the New Albion clerk asking if the town has any plans to reopen their portion of the road, but has not yet received a response. He felt that it makes little sense to bring the road back to usefulness if it meets up with an unmaintained road — effectively a dead end — at the New Albion line. Currently, the road is just two tire tracks and tall grass. He also said his already tight budget would not be able to fund maintaining or improving the road — even only for seasonal use — for many years.

The board thanked the residents for bringing up the issue and said that it would look into it and find out what its options are. The board also felt that the town’s attorney should be consulted on the matter.

In other business, Keis said that the county’s Social Services mobile work crew had done a good job cleaning up the Jersey Hollow cemetery. Keis said he would ask the town’s lawn mowing contractor to begin mowing it.

The next meeting of the Mansfield Board will be held on Monday, July 21 at 7 p.m. at the municipal building. All are welcome to attend.