OXFORD — Ten residents have been appointed to a facilities committee that will study the condition, adequacy and future of municipal buildings, including the Town Office, which this week was flooded with at least 25,000 gallons of rain water.

Selectmen approved Town Manager Butch Asselin’s selections Thursday night, but not without a heated exchanges between two board members over a decision to deny membership to a nonresident who owns a local business.

In the unanimous decision, Peter Laverdiere, Lois Pike, Dana Dillingham, Betty Wuori, Sharon Jackson, James Bowden, David Green, James Delamater, Peter Cushman and Ronald Kugell were appointed to the committee.

The vote followed debate between Selectwoman Samantha Hewey and Selectman Caldwell Jackson on whether the business owner, who had applied to be a member of the committee, should have been denied because of his residency.

Hewey argued the applicant was a valuable member of the business community who could make important contributions to the committee’s work. She also questioned why the appointments were not made during the Nov. 1 meeting, as planned.

Jackson, who asked for the delay because he could not be present at that meeting, said the businessman is welcome to attend the meetings, and said Asselin made the right decision in denying him voting privileges because of his nonresidency.

The decision to appoint a committee, which will also include two selectmen and the town manager, who will be a nonvoting participant, was based on a recommendation by Asselin after concern arose about the mold, moisture and other problems at the Town Office.

On Tuesday, Town Office workers discovered at least 2 inches of water on the gym floor that could not be removed by the in-house sump pump. The wastewater treatment plant operator was called in to remove the water with a larger sump pump.

The Town Office is built on an aquifer, and the water problem will probably continue because of the building’s location, according to Asselin.

The committee’s purpose is to make recommendations about town buildings. If a new Town Office is recommended, for example, it will have to be bonded and will require a town meeting or referendum vote.

In other matters, selectmen approved the recommendations of the Pismo Beach Committee, which calls for all beach users to display a transfer station sticker if they park in the Pismo Beach parking lot.

Guests of residents or taxpayers are allowed to use the beach, but must also display a transfer station sticker or special permit from the Town Office if they are not walking to the beach.

Anyone walking into the beach area will be able to use the facility. Committee members say ball players and their families, using the playing fields at the beach, should also be allowed to use the beach during tournaments. There will be no fee for any patron of the beach.

The board also:

• Awarded the bid for the Pottle Field ADA restroom for $32,200 and septic system for $11,579 to 1st Construction and Excavation.

• Approved a proposal by MBP Consulting to design a new gate for the east sluice at Thompson Dam for $8,900.

• Accepted a $400 donation from James and Pauline Perkins to go toward signs announcing Oxford is a Military Friendly Community.

• Reminded residents the annual community Thanksgiving turkey and ham dinner is scheduled for 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Oxford Community Center, 223 King St. The dinner, sponsored by the Oxford Recreation Committee, is free to residents.

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Oxford Selectman Caldwell Jackson tells other board members Thursday night he supports Town Manager Butch Asselin’s decision to reject the application of a nonresident for membership on a town committee studying municipal buildings. (Leslie H. Dixon/Advertiser Democrat)


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