MEXICO — The Board of Selectmen voted 5-0 Tuesday night to table an offer to buy the land and building next to the Town Office on Main Street because of concerns about asbestos siding.

The board agreed to have the material tested.

At the Feb. 2 selectmen meeting, resident Mike Mann offered the property for $20,000 cash and a $10,000 tax credit. It’s a tenth of an acre and includes a 2½-story and a 1,500-square-foot building constructed in 1896, Mann said. It has been used as a town hall, a church, a Knights of Pythias meeting hall and a flower shop, he said.

It sits between the Town Office and the fire station. The library is on the other side of the Town Office and the Androscoggin River runs behind all four buildings.

On Tuesday, Selectman Andy Dupuis said he had someone look at the siding on the old hall and said it contained asbestos.

Town Manager John Madigan disagreed, saying he concurred with Mann’s assessment that the siding contained Masonite, not asbestos.

Madigan said that with Mann’s consent, they can have someone approved by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection inspect the building and have a piece of the siding tested. It could cost up to $1,000, depending on what is found, he said.

Money for the inspection, lab work and the report to the selectmen would come from the demolition fund.

Selectman Byron Ouellette said he would not be in favor of putting the property to a town meeting vote until an inspection is made.

Board of Selectmen Chairman Richie Philbrick agreed.

“We should get it tested,” he said. “Then citizens can make the final vote.”

It wasn’t known when the inspection might take place, but Town Clerk Penny Duguay said they have until mid-May.

Madigan said Mann’s offer expires after the annual town meeting June 14.

Town officials toured the building and Madigan said it’s structurally sound. He was also interested in the new chairs stored there, which are the same type as those that need to be replaced in the Town Hall.

“I’ve thought all along that if the town of Mexico owns this whole parcel, you have a very valuable piece of land,” Madigan told selectmen Feb. 2. “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.”

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