OXFORD — Selectmen voted Thursday to set bylaws for the Thompson Lake Dam Advisory Committee to ensure that it operates as an advisory unit, has no authority to make decisions and keeps the Oxford town manager as chairman.

The entire committee is scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. July 16 at the Oxford Municipal Building.

Asselin said he reached out to the towns with property around the lake, Poland, Otisfield and Casco, about meeting with him. He said members of the committee from other towns have met independently and unofficially and inaccurate information about Oxford’s planned repairs and budgeting for rehabilitation has been circulating through the communities.

He said he plans to meet with selectmen and town managers of Poland, Otisfield and Casco, but a date has not been set.

Rehabilitation of the dam has been budgeted, approved and will move forward this year.

A discharge channel at the Thompson Lake dam. Repairs to the dam could be as much as $521,000. Submitted photo

“I am concerned about the actions of the committee,” Selectman Sharon Jackson. “They have led members of the Thompson Lake Environmental Association to assume that Oxford is not doing anything about repairs. They have encouraged landowners on the lake to speak against the project on the Thompson Lake Facebook page and implied that Oxford has buried the funds to pay for it.”

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“The Oxford town manager is the head of the committee,” Samantha Hewey, vice chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, said. “It is not appropriate if they are meeting apart from him.”

Asselin acknowledged there is frustration on both sides.

“Oxford’s best interests are different than the other towns,” he said. “There are people that want a new dam but we have to weigh that with our own needs. I agree that Oxford selectmen should create bylaws that the committee needs to follow.”

“Bylaws need to include meeting rules,” Selectman Dana Dillingham said. “If the bylaws are not followed we have the right to dissolve the committee.”

Board Chairman Scott Hunter said other towns are concerned about contributing to the cost of repairs, if ownership lies solely with Oxford, and that they are not opposed to cost-sharing but want to know a clear plan for it.

Asselin took issue with that perspective, pointing out that when a report from MBP Consulting was distributed, some residents wanted to have a second analysis done, in effect dismissing the plan Oxford contracted.

The committee would consist of two representatives from each town, including one selectman. Asselin will continue to as chairman but have no vote except to break a tie.


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