OXFORD — Townspeople approved a nearly $4 million municipal budget for fiscal year 2016 at town meeting Saturday morning.

The $3.87 million in local spending was the amount recommended by the Budget Committee and selectmen. Despite increases in almost every department, the overall budget is down from last year by nearly 1 percent because of outside grant funding and the payment of nearly $192,000 in debt. 

Nearly 100 residents turned out at the Oxford Elementary School, and as a first order of business voted to add Diffin Road, a dead-end road to the town’s maintenance roster.

By a clear majority, voters agreed to discuss and vote on each departments’ budget, defeating an amendment to group them under a single vote. 

There was little discussion on most department budgets, which passed in near-unanimous votes. The meeting lasted a little under an hour. 

A $116,683 increase over last year’s budget at the Police Department is being driven by the addition of a new officer. Total spending will be $790,803. The position is being created through a two-year grant, which is being offset by $68,000 in outside funding. 


The Fire Department will see a $60,000 increase to $341,338, or 21 percent more than this fiscal year through the creation of a full-time, appointed chief. The town’s current part-time, elected chief will cease office Tuesday, June 9. 

Asked whether the town had hired a new fire chief, Town Manager Michael Chammings said a finalist is going through a background check. The salaried position will pay between $49,000 and $51,000, Chammings said.

Residents, several of whom work at the sewer and water department in neighboring Paris, asked for information on the cost projections for the as-yet-unfinished waste-water treatment facility. The town is asking to bill users tied into the system a total of $181,000 next year. 

Chammings said the cost to operate the system reflects half a year of maintenance. He said the sewer will be paid through an enterprise account funded by users tapped into the system, and not through the property tax. Chammings didn’t have a firm estimate on the number of users who are ready to tap into it, saying, “A lot of people (are) lined up.” 

One woman rose to commend the work Recreation Department Director Connie Staples had done over the past year. 

“She’s running a miracle at the department,” the woman said. “It’s so clean inside, there’s so many activities. She’s done an amazing job.” 

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