OXFORD — With the town of Oxford committed to paying the full cost of a major rehabilitation project for the Thompson Lake dam, selectmen Thursday night invited officials from the other three towns with property along its shores to discuss collaborating on future maintenance.

Town Manager Butch Asselin reported repairs to the dam’s east gate and leaks in other parts will begin Sept. 8 to mobilize equipment and prepare the site, with installation of a cofferdam to start Sept. 14.

The project requires water on the lake be drawn down to its winter level six weeks earlier than is traditionally done.

The current cost projection for the repairs is $473,000, about $40,000 less than the construction contractor Bancroft of Paris originally bid.

Bancroft is expected to complete the work in three months. Engineering consultant Myron Petrovsky of MBP Consulting of Portland will oversee the work.

Otisfield’s Select Board Chair Hal Ferguson spoke about a survey done by Petrovsky in June 2018 that indicated the center gate of the dam was the one at most risk of failure.


He reiterated the Thompson Lake Advisory Committee had recommended that before major repairs were done that a comparative analysis on dam replacement be done.

Asselin said a heavy storm occurred shortly after the survey report was completed, affecting the condition of the east gate and requiring a reassessment of how to proceed.

By focusing first on the east gate, Petrovsky said, the life expectancy would be extended by 50 years, making it possible to do further repairs and maintenance in stages.

Holly Hancock, vice chair for the Casco Board of Selectmen, said the towns might move forward in a productive way to make sure that the dam is properly maintained going forward.

“Can these four towns consider a partnership?” Hancock said. “Or is Oxford going it alone? Are Oxford selectmen willing to work with other towns?”

Oxford’s Vice Chair Samantha Hewey and fellow board member Dana Dillingham agreed quickly.


“For my part, we should,” Dillingham said. “But we will not go back. The decision has been made on the east gate rehabilitation. We will do that work now and then go down the list on the other needs. But I believe going forward that the four select boards should work together.”

Poland Selectman Steve Robinson confirmed Poland is committed to future partnership, but would not contribute until the current project has been completed. He also made reference to a five-town pact for dams located in Belgrade between Belgrade, Rome, Oakland, Sidney and Mount Vernon.

The message from selectmen of the other towns was uniform: Residents would not commit taxpayer dollars to the dam without having some say in how the funds would be spent.

Suzette Moulton, vice chair of the Poland Board of Selectpersons, said her town has a public boat launch, but the only public beach access is in Oxford, and only Oxford residents are allowed to use it. She suggested forming a smaller committee to talk through the issues and needs.

Scott Hunter, chairman of the Oxford Board of Selectmen, confirmed the town will pay the entire cost of the east gate project, but welcomed more collaboration going forward.

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