OXFORD — Voters will weigh in on a $3.81 million budget at their annual town meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 7, at Oxford Elementary School.

Residents also will be asked to approve changing the elected, part-time chief of the Fire Department to a full-time, appointed position.

Town Manager Michael Chammings endorsed the change, saying a part-time employee no longer suited a growing department expected to see its workload increase in coming years with new business and residential growth.

Residents are being asked to raise $531,013, which is 16 percent more than last year, largely due to payments on the loans the town has secured to pay for a sewer system project.

The warrant articles call for spending cuts in just one of 20 areas.

The town is in the midst of constructing a state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant connected to miles of pipes soon to be installed along Route 26.

In April, Oxford received $23.7 million in federal funding to extend the sewer system from Route 26 into rural areas of town. The tally includes $10 million in grants and another $13.3 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture loans to finance the project.

Groundwork is expected to begin later this month.

Chammings said most of the spending increases will be offset by $400,000 in expected revenue from the Tax Increment Financing District, commercial and residential sewer system users fees — which will be set later this summer — and casino taxes.

Oxford receives 2 percent in taxes from table and slot game revenues from the Oxford Casino. In 2013, that amounted to about $1.43 million, according to the Maine Gambling Control Board.

Altogether, Chammings said with the expected revenue the budget increase is likely to be closer to 3.9 percent. Property taxes are expected to remain at current levels.

New spending initiatives also include $89,906 for the Police Department, which, in addition to higher expenses, is seeking to hire another full-time officer to handle an increased caseload brought by the Oxford Casino.

“As we told people when the casino came in, we weren’t going to overstaff (police) the first year, but add officers as needed,” Chammings said.


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