Oxford selectmen listen Thursday night as Mark Carter, left, of RealTerm Energy displays LED lighting for streetlights. Seated, from left: Selectmen Ed Knightly, Samantha Hewey, Floyd Thayer and Caldwell Jackson, Town Manager Butch Asselin and Town Clerk Elizabeth Olsen. (Advertiser Democrat photo by Leslie H. Dixon)

OXFORD — The Board of Selectmen unanimously agreed Thursday night to a contract with Charter Communications for cable television services.

The previous agreement signed in 2001 expired in 2016.

The 15-year contract requires Charter Communications, which operates under the brand of Spectrum, to extend cable service to areas with at least 20 residences per mile.

It also allows for a 5 percent franchise fee based on Charter Communications’ local gross revenues for cable TV services, not including internet or telephone sales, and provides a process for consumer complaints.

What the franchise fee means for Oxford is up in the air.

Town Manager Butch Asselin said the contract will include $8,000 in video and audio equipment for the town.

He said the requirement of 20 households per mile for stringing cable is “not etched in stone.”

Some board members had hoped there would be an alternative cable company to consider, but Asselin said the only alternatives he could find was DirectTV and Dish Network.

“So really it’s the only deal,” Chairman Floyd Thayer said. “I’m not happy with it but there’s nothing else we can do.”

In December, the board voted 3-2  to table the proposed cable TV contract, citing issues that included its length and lack of internet connection for municipal departments and outlying areas.

In another matter, selectmen unanimously voted to approve a recommendation by RealTerm Energy to replace streetlights and decorative lights with Acuity brand LED fixtures. The recommendation came during a presentation by Mark Carter of RealTerm on several types of LED lighting.

Of the 73 lights that will be installed, Carter said there is about a one-per-year failure rate. The program will include a 10-year warranty.

The board also approved $20,000 as a match for a Community Development Block Grant sought by Valley View Orchard Pies on Madison Avenue. The money will come from the Economic Development Fund.

Fire Chief Gary Sacco told selectmen of a letter from area fire chiefs, including himself, to Oxford County commissioners about concerns over the regional communications system.

Sacco also announced a $1,000 donation from Walmart for the Oxford Fire & Rescue Department.

Police Chief Michael Ward announced an investigation at one of the town’s hotels resulted in a major drug bust this week.

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