Oxford selectmen used Facebook Live to livestream their meeting Thursday night at the Municipal Center on Pleasant Street. From left, seated some distance apart as health officials advise, are Elizabeth Olsen, Town Manager Butch Asselin, Selectmen Scott Hunter, Samantha Hewey, Sharon Jackson and Dana Dillingham.  Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

OXFORD — With COVID-19 forcing adjustments across the country, selectmen livestreamed their meeting Thursday night at Municipal Center via Facebook.

Citing state government mandates that public gatherings not exceed 10 people, selectmen tabled two appointments to the Budget Committee. The committee has seven representatives and four vacancies. Six members are required to conduct business.

If the committee meets and one person is found to have been exposed to the virus the entire group would be required to self-quarantine.

Selectmen concluded that given the health crisis and the need to complete the budget in time for the annual town meeting in June it will be best to keep a smaller group.

Without a quorum the committee can continue its work but cannot take action or make recommendations.

Town Manager Butch Asselin was directed to share drafts of the budget electronically with committee members and allow them to review it in stages.

Selectmen also authorized Asselin to submit requests for bids for repairing the Thompson Lake dam to the same group of contractors who previously bid on it in 2019.

They also approved a date change to the mass gathering permit for the Made in Maine Festival, which has been changed to May 29-31 from June 5-7. The festival takes place at the Oxford Fair Grounds.

After reviewing options for a change in venue for June’s primary elections, selectmen determined polling should be returned to the Public Safety Building on Route 26. The presidential primary was held at the Oxford Station House Recreation Center but voters had issues with parking and access.

Town Clerk Elizabeth Olsen looked at other options but didn’t feel they could safely accommodate Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. With no suitable replacement, the board determined that the remaining 2020 elections would return to the Public Safety Building, which houses the Fire and Police departments.

Selectmen voted to do away with the use of coupons for transfer station disposal. Residents have been annually been allowed to dispose of two car tires, one refrigerator or freezer and one couch or chair. Going forward residents will be allowed to recycle household furniture at no charge and as many as four tires a year. Tipping fees for construction debris and shingles will continue.

Officials will continue planning a clean-up day, hoping to tie into Earth Day events and tapping boy scouts, students that need to log community service hours and local businesses to donate the use of trucks to transport trash cleaned up during roadside clean-up.

The Board approved bids for grounds maintenance from Mains & Sons Property Management LLC for $10,000 and for roadside mowing from Goodall Landscaping for $8,160.

Asselin updated selectmen on the steps Oxford is taking to abide by COVID-19 measures. Glass windows will be installed at the clerk’s counters to provide barriers to the lobby. He said updates are being posted to the town’s website informing residents of changes in hours and services.

All town buildings are closed to public access, although town employees continue to work a regular schedule.

He cautioned that revenues will take a hit due to fewer vehicle registrations and the temporary closure of Oxford Casino. If the casino is closed for two months, the loss of revenue to the town will approach $300,000. Revenue sharing from the state will also decline. But he said the town’s accounts are in good shape and Oxford should be able to ride out the fallout from the pandemic relatively well.

 

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