State Rep. Jay Barrows (R-Mansfield) is so far running unopposed for the first Bristol District, but he says he’s not slowing down.
Barrows said one of the issues he has been working on hard has been the Tri Town Sewer and Wastewater District project. The proposal, which was approved in 2010, will bring Foxborough, Mansfield and Norton under one sewer and wastewater district.
“We’re looking to move ahead,” he said. “The communities, the representatives that have been on the municipal study group have been really put to work. I think we will be the first in the Commonwealth to pull the trigger to have this sort of plan an regionalization approach to wastewater.”
Just recently, he and other lawmakers helped pass an amendment atht would allow each town to set its own connection fees for service, which would allow for more flexibility in the district.
Road repairs are another key issue facing all three towns. Barrows said that he and fellow representatives have been working with the statehouse to pass a $1.5 billion road and bridge bill, $200 million that could be used in road repairs and maintenance. The bill was approved in April, but has run into some problems.
“The transportation bond bill that has monies for road improvement has been stuck in conference at the statehouse,” he said. “We’re hoping to get that resolved and get that moving... All three towns have roadwork needed… That is definitely a priority to get some more Chapter 90 money out and get back to work on these area roads.”
Business in Mansfield is a key issue right now. With a budget that gets slimmer every year and limited revenue not allowing for services many officials and administrators say are necessary, expanding the revenue stream through new business is what Mansfield will be looking to do in the future ().
Barrows said that he has been working with the Tri Town Chamber of Commerce to help all three towns he represents in business and job development.
“Our chamber has been very active, very proactive in learning and sharing what each of our communities have to offer,” he said. “We’re having the chamber engaged in economic development. It’ll come, but we need some other things to kind of break. We need some stability in the market, the foreclosure; the housing industry is still a disaster and will require more time to get that behind us. “
Mansfield, Foxborough and Norton come together on other issues as well. With the Comcast Center essentially in Mansfield and Norton and Patriot Place also attracting many crowds from out of town, the inflow of people is inevitably followed by an inflow of alcohol, drugs and general disorder. Most concerts at the Comcast Center see about 40-70 arrests, and Foxorough police say they have at least 1,000 criminal arrests per year from Gillette Stadium and related events.
“We’ve had fairly decent results in the schools,” Barrows said. “We are looking to change, through legislation that I helped file, public intoxication penalties to include a fine.”
Recent efforts from both Mansfield and Foxborough lawmakers have seen a noticeable decrease in arrests and general lawbreaking.
“Comcast is off to a decent start, but we’ve got to send a message that we’re not going to put up with it,” Barrows said.