MEXICO — Selectmen on Tuesday will discuss an offer by Mike Mann to sell the land and building beside the Town Office to the town for $20,000 cash and a $10,000 tax credit.

The board will meet at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 16, at the Town Office.

The Main Street property is a 10th of an acre, Mann, of Mexico, said last week in a phone interview. The 2½-story, 1,500-square-foot building was constructed in 1896, he said. It has been used as a town hall, a church, a Knights of Pythias meeting hall and a flower shop, he said.

“My mother bought it about 15 years ago,” because of its history, Mann said, and he and his two brothers, Christopher Mann of California and Kent Mann of Mexico, eventually owned it. Because of its history, they decided to offer it to the town, he said.

Town Manager John Madigan told selectmen at their Feb. 2 meeting that the property is assessed at about $55,000 and the tax is around $1,430. No back taxes are owed.

“I mentioned it to the board, at least three years ago, when Wes Raynor was trying to sell it for $70,000,” Madigan said. “Now, (Mann) has offered it for $30,000.”

The house is between the Town Office, which houses the Police Department and the fire station. On the east side of the Town Office is the library. The Androscoggin River runs behind all four properties.

“I’ve thought all along that if the town of Mexico owns this whole parcel, you have a very valuable piece of land,” he said. “Nobody knows what’s going to happen in the future, but it’s a real good commercial lot if you own everything from (the library) to the fire station and to the river.”

Selectman Reggie Arsenault asked what the procedure would be if the town bought Mann’s property.

“We’d have to bring it to the taxpayers for a town meeting vote,” Chairman Richie Philbrick said.

“Would the main intention be to tear it down, or to utilize the building?” Selectman Byron Ouellette asked.

“Well, that would be up to you folks,” Madigan said.

Ouellette said if for some reason, the former superintendent’s building on Parker Street is sold, the Police Department would have a place to go, if it’s suitable.

“That’s a good point, too,” Philbrick said.

“When I first came here, there was a plan to move all the town services up to the rec building (on Parker Street),” Madigan said. “And when we inherited the superintendent’s building, we were talking that we could move police up there. We could move the library up there. We could move the Town Office up there. Now, there’s even talk, if they close schools, one of them might be the middle school. That would make another ideal property to house all the town’s services.”

“I’m just trying to get you to think long-term,” Madigan said.

The brick Town Office building is old, the roof leaks and it needs new windows, he said.

“Look at the money we had to put into the fire station a few years ago when we had a crack in the foundation,” he said. “That was over $50,000 just to fix that. The library is an old building.”

“I think it’s an opportunity for the town to have a valuable piece of property that a developer might choose to do something significant with,” the town manager said. “Also, keep in mind that the owners of the (Mexico) Plaza (farther west on Main Street) have been trying to sell that.”

Selectman Andy Dupuis said, “You have to remember that they’re all in a flood zone. Mexico doesn’t really need a lot of real estate.”

Madigan said the 1987 flood went up to the overhead door in the back of the fire station. The Town Office is not in the flood plain.

Ouellette said that instead of the town buying Mann’s property, it could take in some $24,000 in taxes over 10 years, if it stayed in private hands.

“You have to think,” he said. “If you’re not going to do anything with it, and we never do anything with this whole section, then it’s a loss, from a business point of view. But the whole thing is much more saleable if you have the whole thing. It’s a gamble.”

Madigan mentioned the minimall — it’s across Main Street from the Town Office — where Pizza Hut, Subway, U.S. Cellular and Maine Smoke Shop are located.

“That building across the street was a million dollars of new value, so what’s the tax value of that, versus the few houses that were there before?” he asked.

Ouellette acknowledged that it has “maintained itself pretty well.”

Selectmen asked Mann to give them a key so they can tour his building.

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