OXFORD — It has been almost three weeks since Oxford County commissioners seized control of the county buildings at the Oxford County Regional Airport and their to-do list already is at 11 items and growing.

Among the top concerns is working with stakeholders, including Community Concepts and the Internal Revenue Service, to determine how to dispose of the equipment and material left by the previous tenant, Oxford Aviation.

Also urgent is determining how to proceed with a possibly expensive environmental cleanup operation, repairs to the leaking roof and a thorough assessment of the building’s heating, water and ventilation systems.

At the commissioners’ meeting at the county building Tuesday, County Administrator Scott Cole said that Oxford Aviation owner Jim Horowitz, who was evicted from the facility earlier this month after a lengthy legal battle, has yet to claim any of the property in the facility.

County officials have created an inventory, including photos and videos, of remaining property and have given Horowitz a week to claim it or relinquish his rights.

Cole said the commissioners’ office intends to work closely with Community Concepts Finance Corp., which reportedly reached a settlement with Horowitz last year to reclaim $62,500 in collateral put up in loans Horowitz never repaid.


Glen Holmes, director of the Western Maine Economic Development Council, a CCFC offshoot, would not discuss the terms of the settlement at the meeting, but noted that the Internal Revenue Service and claimants in at least one lawsuit were next in line to pick over the company’s remaining assets at the airport.

Environmental remediation is also a key concern for commissioners.

According to Cole, there are as many as 120 50-gallon drums and containers of various cleaning, stripping and painting compounds and several hundred more smaller containers of paints and thinners that need to be removed from the building.

Moreover, floor drains and sumps are loaded with water and other liquids and need to be cleaned. Early estimates put the cleanup costs from $50,000 to $100,000, Cole said.

The county intends to put a claim in to the Maine County Commissioners’ insurance risk pool to cover the costs of remediation and other necessities, such as thorough inspections of the building’s ceiling, walls, heating and water infrastructure.

Commissioners also intend to install a pay-at-the-pump aircraft fuel system that will allow pilots to use credit cards to fill up when they stop in Oxford.


Commissioner David Duguay also suggested reopening the pilots lounge to incoming fliers, who might be able to use a key-code to get into the building and use the bathroom or relax. 

Cole suggested commissioners needed to put out feelers and find nearby residents who might be willing to play a role in the occasional supervision and maintenance of the facility. Developing an ad hoc group to gain input and suggestions from local pilots about how to operate the facility could also be valuable, he said.

“We are not well suited to manage an airport from up here,” he noted.

The question of what to do with the 40,000-square-foot facility is still up in the air. Cole suggested the facility could be used, at least on a temporary basis, as cold storage to keep aircraft over the winter.

Despite the obvious challenges, commission Chairman Caldwell Jackson expressed relief that the county was able to move forward and address the space.

“Personally, I think it’s a chance to turn this thing around and make something down there,” Jackson said.


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