OXFORD – Three town buildings will be put up for sale to raise revenue to repair the town office and other properties, and help hold the line on property taxes, Town Manager Michael Chammings said Tuesday.

Residents voted to authorize the Board of Selectmen to sell the properties at a special town meeting Monday.

Revenues from any sale will be placed in the Building Reserve Account to help pay for repairs to buildings including the town office which has a leaky roof, Chammings said.

“That way we don’t have to raise property taxes,” he said.

The buildings to be sold include:

• the Emugene Staples Community Hall at 136 Schoolhouse Road was once the Welchville school named for Staples who taught there. It had been the Fire Department’s bingo hall for years, but is not used now;

• the Vera P. Stanton building at 345 King St. used for 10 meetings per year by the Thompson Lake Environmental Association; originally a schoolhouse and then the town office, it was named for Stanton who taught there; and

• the old one-bay fire station at 284 King St., currently used by Ron Kugell, Oxford’s retired police chief, for personal storage.

Chammings said Kugell rents the building for $500 per year, and it costs the town $300 per year to maintain. All three buildings are costing the town money for upkeep and insurance, Chammings said.

In February, the Thompson Lake Environmental Association asked selectmen to consider selling the former Stanton school to the group at a below-market-value price. The market value was recently listed at between $90,000 and $95,000. Group members asked the board to consider a selling price closer to $60,000.

The group includes members from Oxford, Casco, Poland, Otisfield and Norway. The group has been leasing the former one-room schoolhouse for $1 per year since 1994.

Board Chairman Floyd Thayer said Tuesday the group will have first refusal rights, a provision that requires a property owner to give another party the first opportunity to purchase or lease a property before he or she offers it for sale or lease to others.

The old fire station has a market value of $1,500 to $2,000. The value of the Staples building is about $150,000.

At Monday’s meeting, residents also voted to appropriate $15,000 from surplus for the Municipal Facilities Fund. Chammings said the money will be used to install a leach field at the town office.

Sewage from the town office currently is processed at a treatment plant at the former Robinson Manufacturing Co. woolen mill, which closed in 2003 but kept its sewage treatment plant open.

Chammings said the owners of the treatment plant may close it in the future and town officials are trying to be proactive.



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