OXFORD – Voters at Saturday’s annual town meeting approved a $3.2 million fiscal 2009 town budget and narrowly passed a subdivision ordinance that in part will give property owners more say over their land.

In a 32-27 vote, voters agreed with the Comprehensive Planning Committee and the Planning Board to support their recommendation for the ordinance that removes a previous requirement that developers pave a new subdivision road in addition to meeting all other specifications for town roads when it is built.

“You should have the right,” said Tom Kennison of the Comprehensive Planning Committee and a local developer. “We feel it’s in the best interest of the town and people’s personal property rights. If they want the town to take over the road then they must bring it up to town specs.”

Paving the road would be at the landowners’, or developers’, expense.

The article was the only one in the 40-article warrant that drew discussion from the 75 or so voters at the meeting held in the Oxford Elementary School.

While the article was supported by the two committees, some officials urged voters not to vote for it.

Town Manager Michael Chammings said the town is stretched in terms of maintenance of the 57 miles of town roads. He said if more roads are accepted, the town will have to hire another highway department employee. However, he told voters that if the article did not pass, certain sections, such as the state-required shoreline setbacks, would still have to be enacted at another town meeting.

In other action, voters re-elected Roger Jackson as selectmen, Henry Jackson to fill a vacancy on the SAD 17 Board of Directors and Bill Frye as Water District trustee.

Voters swiftly moved through budget articles approving the $3.2 million budget that reflects a significant hike in fuel prices and includes a $15,000 increase for the transfer station’s $232, 219 budget and a $57,000 increase for the Highway Department’s $495,715 budget.

The $3,253,648 budget is almost $127,00 higher than last year’s budget, which had been a decrease from fiscal 2007.

The Police Department’s request for $474,059, or about $22,000 more than last year, was OK’d by voters. The increase was caused by the spike in fuel costs and the need to pick up a greater portion of a shared drug agent’s salary after Norway dropped out of the program that was shared with Oxford and Paris. The Fire Department will see an increase of $19,000 for a total new budget of $236,212.

Voters approved $393,000 in capital improvement projects including $175,000 for road improvements; $80,000 to replace a snow plow and $87,000 to match a state Department of Transportation grant for road reconstruction on King Street.


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