After nearly an hour and a half of discussion Thursday, the Mansfield Town Council decided to task town staff with finding a different way to carry out the school building project.
Per a motion made by Councilman Paul Shapiro - and passed with a 6-3 vote by the council - town staff will now "investigate the possibility of building two new elementary schools sequentially over a multi-year period," and report back to the council by the end of 2012.
The council requested that the report also address the "possibility of phasing in improvements" to the .
"While I am a proponent of the project and I am a proponent for the two-school option, and while I know that nothing is cost-free and I know that to some degree, regardless of what we do and when we do it, seniors and retired people are going to pay the piece of the cost," Shapiro said. "This is simply too much and sending it to referendum right now, is in my opinion, the wrong thing to do," he said. "The bottom line is we can not do this project right now."
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Council member Denise Keane suggested the council also take time to sit down with the town's state senator and state representative to explore the possibility of receiving more reimbursement money from the state should the project be carried out.
"Other towns have done that," Keane said. "They've gotten the exceptions, they've gotten the waivers and they've gotten the repairs and renovations done with a lot of state money to assist them. We haven't gone down that road fully," she said.
Councilman William Ryan agreed.
"There's no reason not to find out everything we can find out," he said.
Keane's motion was passed unanimously by the council.
"I still think we have more work to do," Keane said.