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Upkeep of Mansfield community center up to Newton County
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The Newton County Board of Commissioners approved an intergovernmental agreement with the city of Mansfield to be solely responsible for the general maintenance of the center and created a committee for the Mansfield Community Center at its Dec. 18 meeting.

County Attorney Tommy Craig shared background information about the community center in Mansfield with the board and explained why it was necessary to approve the agreement.

"The Mansfield Community Center [has] served as a community meeting facility for many years," Craig said. "The county began to use it some time ago as a voting precinct ... at some point the community center fell into a state of disrepair and the people in Mansfield approached county commissioners about the possibility of making repairs and renovating it so that it could serve not only as a voting precinct, but as a community center. In 1996 the property was deeded to the county."

"For quite some time, [we have] operated under an agreement, but that agreement has been operated by a handshake and it's not in writing," Craig said.

According to the intergovernmental agreement, Newton County will own the Mansfield Community Center; and the county and the city of Mansfield will have specific responsibilities for operating, using and maintaining the facility.

Under the agreement, the county will be responsible for overall maintenance of the facility including securing and funding liability insurance, utility payments, maintenance of major electrical, plumbing or HVAC systems and other structural components.

The city of Mansfield will be responsible for maintaining the facility as a rental facility and will oversee its meeting schedule and the taking of rental money. The city will receive $25 per paid booking excluding the use of the facility for official county and city business.

In addition to the intergovernmental agreement, the BOC also approved a resolution to form the Mansfield Community Center Committee, which includes 12 members. In the committee, three of the members must be the Newton County Board of Commissioners District Commissioner, the mayor of Mansfield or his designee and the Chairman of the Newton County Board of Elections or his designee.

The remaining nine members should be Newton County citizens appointed by the District Commissioner. The BOC approved for citizens Kitty King, Betty Jo Marks, Wayne Blackwell, Mary Hays and Julius Hays to serve four-year terms on the committee; and for Mary Edwards, Larry Jackson, Linda Cobb and David Hays to serve two-year terms on the committee. Commissioner Mort Ewing made the point that all the approved committee members were based on recommendations from the community and because of their prior involvement with the Mansfield Community Center.