OXFORD — The Board of Selectmen on Thursday evening unanimously approved a property tax rate of $15 per $1,000 of assessed property value for 2019-10. The rate is 30 cents more than last year.

Assessor agent Donna Hayes presented several options to the board.

“Using the revenues that were budgeted at the town meeting and using nothing out of undesignated funds, the tax rate would be $15.90,” she said. To keep the tax rate flat, $520,000 would need to be transferred from the fund, she added.

Town Manager Butch Asselin said the account has about $3 million, $600,000 of which could be used for tax relief.

The board unanimously approved using $400,000 from the account.

In other matters, selectmen unanimously voted to enforce a clear-trash-bags-only policy at the transfer station beginning Oct. 1.

Selectman Ed Knightly had been charged with researching the local availability of clear trash bags during the Aug. 15 meeting. The operating manual for the transfer station says mass solid waste must be disposed of in clear bags, but white and black bags had been coming through, he said at the time.

“Walmart has been good and helpful,” he said. “They have a whole pallet of clear bags.”

“Hannaford can’t help us because they can’t control what is on their shelves,” Knightly said.

Selectman Samantha Hewey said the bags could also be purchased through Amazon.

“If we are going to say clear bags, it has to be clear bags,” Knightly said. “We have to enforce it.”

Notices will be posted on the town website and at the transfer station so residents are aware of the enforcement.

The board also voted to transfer Oxford Casino revenue in excess of $2 million to the Capital Improvement Fund.

Asselin said he had projected the town would receive $1.9 million from the casino during the 2019-20 fiscal year. The projection was recently revised to $2 million to reflect the actual amount received, he said.

Revenues from the casino are considered general revenue, which is used for commitments such as school and county taxes, he added.

In other matters, Marcia Matuska and Kathy Cain, co-presidents of the Thompson Lake Environmental Association, told selectmen that 168 tons of milfoil, an invasive plant, had been cleared from the lake since 2005.

“We think it was introduced in the 1980s,” Matuska said. “Before milfoil remediation started, 16 acres of the lake had been infested with milfoil.”

The association maintains the quality of the lake by evaluating the clarity of the water twice a month, inspecting boats at three ramps for milfoil algae and other invasive plants, she said.

Financial gifts to the association, along with grant funding, cover the cost of the courtesy inspections, she said.

“The lake is one of the clearest and cleanest in the state,” she said.


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