OXFORD – Selectmen set the town’s tax rate at $21.20 per $1,000 valuation at Thursday’s meeting. The rate is the same as last year, although the breakdown of where the taxes go has changed.

Last year, the $21.20 was broken into $11.66 for SAD 17, 85 cents for Oxford County, and $8.69 for the town. This year, the school portion has risen to $12.28, and the county’s has risen to 99 cents. The town portion of $7.93 has allowed the total tax rate to remain the same.

Selectmen had to take a higher overlay of $100,000 this year to cover changes in the Homestead Exemption. A selectmen’s overlay is part of the town’s budget which allows selectmen to deal with unforeseen expenses without calling a special town meeting.

This year, the state will reimburse towns for only half of the Homestead Exemption. The half that must be covered by the town creates a $93,000 expense for the town. Town Manager Michael Chammings said that to make up the difference, taxes will be higher than what they would have been if the state reimbursed towns for the entire Homestead Exemption.

“We’re going to give you a tax break,” he said of the Homestead Exemption. The town will “raise taxes, and give you your tax break out of that.” In effect, taxpayers who do not receive a Homestead Exemption will pay the exemption to those who do. He said that any town manager would agree the state’s change to the Homestead Exemption “wasn’t thought out very well.”

Despite the extra expense caused by changes in the Homestead Exemption, Chammings said he is very happy with the tax rate this year.

After a public hearing at which there were no comments or questions from the 10 residents in attendance, selectmen passed a traffic control ordinance, which formally accepts a list of stop, yield and one-way signs in the town. The ordinance ensures the legality of the signs on the list.


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