OXFORD — Selectmen directed Town Clerk Elizabeth Olsen, on March 5, to contact officials of  American Legion Post 112 about using their hall on King Street for annual town elections in June.

Voting for the March 3 presidential primary election had been moved from Oxford’s Public Safety Building on Route 26 to the Station House Community Center on King Street. Olsen said the new location was well organized and provided better conditions for ballot clerks but it was not a permanent solution.

She said the community center parking lot became muddy and that overhead lighting for the lot after dark was poor. Police Chief Michael Ward added that the lot will not accommodate an anticipated turnout of up to 2,000 voters for the U.S. presidential election next fall.

Olsen said she must file paperwork with Maine’s Secretary of State by April 11 to change the voting venue for annual town elections in June. She said it is her goal to have the June elections and the U.S. presidential election Nov. 3 in the same place.

Vice Chairwoman Samantha Hewey said permanent voting accommodations should be part of Oxford’s plans for a new Town Office. Town Manager Butch Asselin said it was not currently included but that he will revisit the project.

Oxford Town Clerk Elizabeth Olsen administers the oath of office to new Selectman Dana Dillingham at Thursday night’s board meeting. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

The meeting opened with Olsen swearing in Dana Dillingham as selectman. He was elected Tuesday to finish the three months remaining on Ed Knightly’s term.

In other business, selectmen unanimously approved renewing Oxford Casino’s gaming license.

Oxford Plains Speedway submitted two renewal applications that were also approved. One is for the Oxford 250 on Aug. 28-30 and the other is a mass gathering permit for the 2020 racing season which runs from April 25 through the end of October.

Ward and Fire Chief Paul Hewey reported no concerns with either applicant.

The board tabled a request from Transfer Station Manager Ed Knightly to schedule a town cleanup for Saturday, June 27. It would allow residents to unload roadside trash, household recyclables, noncommercial tires and household items such as furniture at no cost.

Selectman Sharon Jackson opposed the plan, saying it was done once before at tremendous cost to the town. She said yardfuls of trash were left at the transfer station at taxpayers expense, including extra money for labor.

She reminded selectmen that the town has coupons available that allow residents to dispose of two car tires, one refrigerator or freezer and one couch or chair to once a year for free and questioned why the coupons are distributed from the transfer station instead of being available at the town office.

Knightly explained that the town earns money on metals collected that will help cover cleanup day disposal fees. He said the idea came in response to complaints about unsightly residential yards full of trash. He also said he will make arrangements to have as many dumpsters as necessary to accommodate the volume of waste.

Hewey said it was important to consider some sort of a cleanup day on a trial basis, even if limits are placed on the volumes of material that can be brought in.

The board agreed to revisit the proposal in two weeks, giving Knightly time to research how neighboring towns handle annual cleanup projects.

Recreation Director Patty Hesse reported that she is looking at grants to restart development of the recreational area on Aspen Avenue. She said there may be a possibility to add a hand-carry canoe and kayak launch there. She is working with a surveying engineer from Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to determine if there is an appropriate spot to place a launch.

In his report, Asselin said Revenue Sharing from the state has increased by $78,596 and he anticipates a total of $353,106.

Oxford received a $175,000 grant from Maine Department of Environmental Protection for the town’s wastewater facility. The projected cost of the project is $950,000. The grant money will be used to develop a system to deal with “forever chemicals,” as mandated by federal and state regulations.

Asselin said he is researching other possible grants and will seek further direction from the board on how to proceed at the next meeting.

He also said streetlights will be added to six locations, mostly along Route 26 intersections.

Board Chairman Scott Hunter asked Asselin if he received a response to the letter sent to Oxford County commissioners last December about continuing issues with county radio equipment on Streaked Mountain.

Asselin said he has had no answer.

Ward said he also called and was told the complaint is in the hands of the county communications director. Testing was done but no results provided.

Ward reported that as of Wednesday evening police had no radio service in northern Oxford from the Streaked Mountain tower.

Selectmen directed Asselin to attend the next county commissioners’ meeting to address the issue.


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