OXFORD — The Board of Selectmen agreed at its March 7 meeting to waive Pottle Field rental fees by the Oxford Hills lacrosse teams for this year.

Carrie Hart, who organizes the Oxford Youth Lacrosse teams which practice in Oxford, asked the board to waive the fees, which are now being assessed to pay for maintenance and other needs at the town fields, because registration has already closed for this coming season and the fees were not budgeted into the team costs.

The teams are made up of young people from across Oxford Hills but use the recreation fields in Oxford for practice and home games. They have used the Pottle Field for the past four years but with expenses going up for the town of Oxford in maintaining the field, there has been discussion about accessing fees to those who use the fields.

Selectmen must approve fees and have not charged previously for town teams.

“If we’re going to do this fees do it for everyone,” said Selectman Chairman Floyd Thayer.

Selectmen also considered a request from a solar energy company to create a Tax Increment Finance District that would provide the company with the means to continue to move forward in its plan to establish a solar array in Oxford.

The TIF, which if ok’d by selectmen, must still be approved by town meeting voters. If it is not approved, the project would be delayed at least a year, said Nicholas Mazuroski of Dirigo Solar who met with the board at Thursday night’s meeting to review the project and the
implications of the TIF.

Dirigo Solar, a Portland-based solar energy company, is currently going through local, state and federal permitting to develop a solar array field on Route 26 by the Number Six Road and the Oxford County Regional Airport.

The company is seeking a TIF agreement in line with other TIF districts in Oxford, said Mazuroski.

The financial implications for Oxford are unknown at this time because the value of the project and how it is assessed is unknown. What is known is that Dirigo Solar would initially create 50 or more jobs during construction but probably less than 5 full time permanent jobs after construction is complete.

The board has asked Town Manager Butch Asselin to look at similar projects that have entered TIF agreements. The board expects to meet again perhaps in a workshop form, to continue discussions.

Asselin told selectmen that preliminary school budgets impacts on Oxford show an increase as high as 11 percent. Asselin said the increase, as it stands now, would mean a 8.65 percent increase ($347,348) not including the town’s share to replace the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School roof.

The final impact of the school budget won’t be known until at least April.

Asselin said he will attend future meetings of the school board’s budget committee to keep on top of the budget development. The town’s municipal budgeting process will begin on March 27. He said without the school increase, Oxford taxpayers may face a 2.64 percent increase over last year’s budget. With the projected school increase the number could rise by 6.11 percent.

In other action, Selectmen voted to spend up to $50,500 to buy a street sweeper.

The board approved two abatements in the amount of 728.46 plus 159.60 in costs and interest and 728.46 plus 159.60 in costs and interest. Both properties had mobile homes that had been assessed for value, but had actually been removed in 2016.

Selectmen approved a new street name of Patriot’s Way for a road off of Pleasant Street and approved a catering permit for 290 Main LLC. The wedding will be held in the barn on the Whitney Farm Estate.

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