OXFORD — Butch Asselin announced to selectmen Thursday night that he is retiring at the end of the year.

“After 45 years of public service it’s time to retire,” he told selectmen. “And figure out what comes next. My wife says she will be happy to have me around the house more. I will let you know how long that works.”

Asselin was named manager in August 2017 by a unanimous vote of the board.

He came from Houlton where he’d served as police chief from 2007-14, then town manager for the next three years. He was Skowhegan’s police chief from 1997-2007 and also worked as interim town manager there.

Asselin’s ties to Oxford County are deep. He was born in Rumford and resided in Dixfield in his early years. When he was hired by Oxford he said he was glad to be moving closer to family in the area.

In other matters at the meeting, Fire and Rescue Chief Paul Hewey asked the board to confirm that his department will continue scheduling nighttime personnel to work 12-hour shifts between the end of the fiscal year, June 30, and when a 2020-21 municipal budget is passed, maybe by August or later.

Public safety spending is underbudget, even with the added payroll.

Hewey said that during a recent structure fire, quicker response by personnel made it possible to save the home. He said shelter-in-place orders reduced overall emergency calls in April, but May is on course to finish at about average compared to previous years.

With no set date for the annual town meeting, selectmen agreed to continue 24-hour shift coverage.

Andrew McBride, president of Patriot Precast addressed the board about an economic infrastructure grant his company is considering applying for through Northern Borders. The company wants to make several upgrades to its property, including the entrance it shares with Oxford Plains Speedway, adding three-phase power and broadband, and updating its septic system.

McBride’s came to the board to assure officials that Oxford’s municipal grant requests should take priority over private enterprise.

Board member Sharon Jackson said Northern Borders historically has limited each town to one grant. She recalled a project in Fryeburg where it partnered with a New Hampshire town for an airport grant and the towns split the money.

Selectmen directed Asselin to contact Northern Borders to gather information on the grant award process, which has an application deadline of June. 1.

Residents Chris Delamater and Josh Wyman requested permission to use Pismo Field for nonorganized baseball and softball practice while summer leagues await guidance on starting Little League seasons. Field times would be organized according to social distancing protocols, limiting public gatherings to 10 or fewer people for as long as the order is in effect.

Vice Chairwoman Samantha Hewey voiced concern that if games are played with teams from Androscoggin or Cumberland counties where COVID-19 has a much higher infection rate it would place local residents at risk for infection.

Since the recreation fields have not been officially closed by the town, selectmen determined there was no reason to vote to approve the request. As long as proper safety measures are followed anyone is free to use the property.

Asselin informed the board that furloughed employees will return as of June 1 and additional windows at the town office will be open. He said there will be enough work that has been on hold to justify it.

The recycling center at the Transfer Station will reopen June. 2.

The Oxford Food Pantry will also reopen in June, although Asselin said the its board of directors is still finalizing procedures and has not given an official date.

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