OXFORD — It may be time for Oxford taxpayers to pay the piper.

Voters will be asked to approve a $5.79 million budget – a 28.12 percent increase – at the annual town meeting Saturday, June 10.

Action on the 32-article warrant begins at 10 a.m. at the Oxford Elementary School, 79 Pleasant St.

The selectmen’s proposed budget $5.79 million more than last year. The Budget Committee’s proposal is $5.83 million more.

The budget includes $1.27 million for the wastewater treatment plant account and a $436,850 increase in the Capital Improvement Projects Account.

Last year, voters approved a $4.5 million budget, which was 16 percent more than the previous year. It resulted in a tax increase for the first time in 12 years.

Selectmen recommend $788,150 for the Capital Improvement Project Account, $393,150 more than last year. The Budget Committee is recommending $831,850, a $436,850 increase.

In their annual report to voters, selectmen said this year’s budget is a result of “honest line item budgeting showing how the monies are expended” and and of not “‘gambling'” on the flow of income from Oxford casino for overspending.”

To keep the tax increase as low as possible, the board said members have designated casino revenues for capital improvements. If casino revenues are reduced, capital improvements will be halted.

Last year, the tax rate increased by 95 cents to $13.20 per $1,000 valuation.

Selecctmen said they cannot determine the exact tax increase until after the town meeting and the tax rate is figured. However, Selectman Scott Owens said at the June 1 board meeting that for every $446,000 increase in the budget, it’s another $1 on a property tax bill.

 “Did you think it would last forever? Come on,” Selectman Floyd Thayer said when resident Tom Cushman asked the board at that meeting to project the effect of the proposed budget on taxpayers.

Selectmen Chairman Scott Owens told Cushman and others at the meeting that 68 to 70 percent of the tax rate is for the SAD 17 and 8 percent goes to Oxford County. The rest is based on the municipal budget.

The preliminary 2017-18 school budget of $39.68 million is an increase of 1.73 percent, or $674,415. Oxford’s school assessment is $3.6 million, an increase of $269,865, or 7.32 percent, from last year.

Oxford County’s commitment of $5.84 million is $164,803 more than last year. Oxford’s share is $366,725.

The sewer budget did not affect the tax rate because it was offset by Tax-Increment Financing revenues, according to officials last year.

That is no longer the case, according to interim Town Manager Becky Lippincott.

Toters will be asked to approve:

• $51,200 for the Public Safety Building;

• $16,850 for cemeteries;

• $67,155 for insurance;

• $75,000 for long-term debt;

• $31,900 for Freeland Holmes Library; and

• $25,514 for cost and interest.

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Selectmen faced a barrage of financial questions from residents at their meeting June 1. From left are Selectman Floyd Thayer, Chairman Scott Owens, Town Clerk Beth Olsen and interim Town Manager Becky Lippincott.


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