Oxford hopes to relocate its municipal offices to this building at 127 Pottle Road, a move that could save taxpayers as much as $2 million in new construction. Nicole Carter/Advertiser Democrat

OXFORD — Town Manager Adam Garland recapped the newest plan for a new town office building Thursday night during a workshop before the selectmen meeting.

Voters will decide at the June 4 annual town meeting whether to approve the purchase of the former medical office building at 127 Pottle Road.

Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway accepted Oxford’s bid of $750,000 for the one-story building May 5.

Garland said he is working on financing.

Oxford has about $294,000 in a reserve fund for a building to house municipal offices. Garland said it should be enough to cover renovation expenses.

He recently did a walk-through with representatives of Harriman, the Auburn-based architectural firm contracted in December to design a new municipal center. The firm has agreed to oversee modifications to the Pottle Road building to create a customer service area and meeting space.


Harriman’s early estimate to build next to the Public Safety building on state Route 26 or in the Oxford Business Park on Park Road is $3 million.

“It’s a nice, clean building that will take minimal effort to get it where it needs to be,” Garland said. “It’s in a part of town that a lot of people travel to for personal business. I’m pretty excited about this.”

The Municipal Center at 85 Pleasant St. is for sale. Situated on 1.2 acres, the 12,420 square foot building was constructed about 1900 and served as Oxford’s school for decades. The town acquired it in 1998 and converted it to municipal offices. For years it has been plagued by basement flooding, moisture and mold issues, as well as structural deterioration.

In other business, selectmen approved bids to purchase a new highway department plow truck and gear. The truck will be supplied by Freightliner of Maine for $144,061 and the plow gear by Viking for $90,320. The approval is contingent on the seven-year extended warranty covering engine emissions. Highway Foreman Jim Bennett told the board the truck will not be delivered until July 2023.

Garland reported that a request for bids for propane, No. 2 heating fuel, diesel fuel and K-1 fuel brought an offer from Dead River for propane only at $2.195 a gallon. All propane tanks used by the town are owned by CN Brown, the current propane dealer. Changing suppliers would require having new tanks installed, either by Dead River or the town, if it chooses to buy its own.

Garland said fuel dealers are not willing to commit to contract pricing with the volatility of the market. He said he and the finance director will continue negotiating with suppliers for longer term fuel agreements.


Garland said information videos about the town meeting articles and budget details are 90% and should be ready on the town website and Facebook pages by Monday.

Selectmen also unanimously voted against an abatement request by Walmart after Garland said tax assessor Donna Hays reviewed the documents. He presented a May 10 letter written by Hays to the board recommending it be denied.

On Feb. 14, the retail giant’s real estate division asked the town to lower the value of its store on Route 26 by $2.01 million. Based on a real estate analysis its agents had done, comparing Walmart in Oxford with retail sites in Biddeford, Auburn, Millinocket and Waterville, the company requested that the assessed value in Oxford be adjusted to $9.49 million.

The town assesses the store’s value at $11.21 million. Hays advised there was no basis to drop the assessed value by more than $2 million.

Since 2015, according to data collected by The Maine Monitor, large retailers have succeeded in lowering the valuation of their properties by more than $16 million in communities from Biddeford to Bangor, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax reductions. Hundreds of millions of dollars in abatement requests are still outstanding around the state.

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