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Safety inspection finds violations; no fines
MEXICO -- A recent safety inspection by the Department of Labor uncovered a variety of infractions in town buildings.
"There were a lot of electrical issues...nothing major," noted Town Manager John Madigan, who added, "But it was not as bad a I thought it would be."
He said some of the issues have already been resolved and others are in the process. The inspection was requested by Fire Chief Gary Wentzell, so there will be no fines assessed.
Madigan said the DOL usually gives a town up to six months to address violations. Issues included a couple of missing signs, a missing light in an exit sign, the lack of emergency action plans in each building, and the need to train employees on use of fire extinguishers.
"I did not even know that there was a plug strip plugged into a plug strip in my office," he noted, adding that addressing other violations will be addressed in meetings with department heads.
There is also the lack of some required training. Madigan said some of that training and testing, such as for public works employees, will likely cost a few thousand dollars which will be built into the upcoming budget.
In other business at the Feb. 22 meeting of the Board of Selectmen, Recreation Director Greg Arsenault was present to address questions raised by selectmen and the audience about the running of the programs.
One rumor was that a 16 year old was left in charge of the Friday night roller skating program. Arsenault responded, "Never has, never will."
Arsenault said he's been present every Friday night for the roller skating, that has been held for some 18 years.
He went on to explain that things are going well with the Mexico Recreation Center, including a recent weekend when more than 150 people attended a professional wrestling event and another 50 young people took part in a movie night.
Madigan said that with roller skating, holding birthday parties, selling food at the snack bar, and renting out space, the rec department generates some $30,000 a year.
Arsenault added that all the monies generated goes back against the budget every year.
Madigan told the board that there is a nearly 13 percent increase in the town's share of Oxford County taxes.
He said the drop in valuation in neighboring Rumford of about $100 million led to a decrease in countywide valuation. Each town must pick up a share of the loss from Rumford. That town's valuation loss is attributed to lower property values at the NewPage paper mill.
Mexico county taxes will rise from just over $73,000 to $82,500.
Work on the development of the 2011-12 municipal budget will begin on March 16 when selectmen will meet with the Budget Committee.
Madigan said the town's share of cable franchise monies from Time Warner came in higher this year than last, at $10,668.34.
He said half of whatever the town realizes from franchise fees is usually given to the local television access channel.