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Mansfield Board of Selectmen Roundup: Town Meeting, Lights and Fales

The following is a short summery of all the issues discussed at the March 21 Mansfield board of selectmen meeting.

 

Board of Selectmen/Light Commissions Meeting

March 21, 2012

Superintendent of the Southeastern Regional Vocational School Luis Lopes told the selectmen about the current budget season. Lopes said that because of failure of the state to pay its share of the costs for the school, Mansfield is now seeing a $15,000 a year increase based on the amount of students from Mansfield attending the school.

New England Folk Festival President Bill Cowie and Chair of Inside Facilities Harold Henry gave an update on the festival’s current status. As of the meeting, the festival will take place on April 20 through 22. Selectmen voted 5-0 to wave the $50 service fee to the non profit NEFF Association.

Town manager William Ross said that opening bids have been made for the installation of the parking machines in the MBTA lots for July 1.  Ross said the machines will cost $60,000-$70,000.

The board voted 3-2, with George Dentino and Doug Annino voting against, to pay the $15,000 assessment to have the town be a full member of the NEPPA association.

Neil Rhein of the Keep Mansfield Beautiful organization came in with Dave Kobasa and Jason Todd to present the current achievements and goals of the organization. The current date for this year’s Great Cleanup of Mansfield is April 28 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Mitch Negus presented his Eagle project to the board, which was building a bridge from the junior varsity baseball field to the Jordan Jackson school.

The board agreed to table a consideration to pay for turning more streetlights back on by using money from the Mansfield Electric Department’s PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes). It was not decidedly found to be an illegal use of the pilot, but the board agreed they did not have the time to sort out all the details for the town meeting, and also that there were more important issues for the town meeting as it was. Aptowitz said that he and members of the finance committee are going over the different ways to decide what the PILOT should be. As of the time of the meeting, the PILOT, valued at $480,000, has been basically an arbitrary number devised by the light commission years ago.

The board tabled a discussion on what to do about the Fales Oil building, now out of use. The biggest argument for the property was to use funds from the Enterprise account to turn the building into a parking lot, but it was deemed that the cost would be too much, since the demolition of the building itself was not geared toward making a parking lot and therefore deemed inappropriate by the finance committee. It would cost about $220,000 to make the parking lot, $38,000 of which would be the demolition cost (which selectmen remarked was a bit high for a simple demolition, but concerns about the materials in the building were cited as a possible reason for the cost).

The Mansfield Board of Selectmen voted 4-1, with chair Jess Aptowitz voting against, to approve a new presentation of the warrant articles at town meeting that would put a cap on the budgets of the schools and town. This was done because of the fluid nature of the budget numbers and they wanted to avoid confusion.

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