OXFORD — At annual town meeting this Saturday, Oxford voters will be asked to approve a $5,733,843 budget for the fiscal year starting July 1, 2023. Overall spending will increase by 4.2% from the current budget but includes erasing $67,668 in retired debt and a reduction to capital project expenditures by $69,000.

Oxford voters will be asked to staff its fire department with two per diem weekend firefighters at annual town meeting this Saturday. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

The meeting will take place at Oxford Elementary School on Pleasant Street Saturday morning, at 10 a.m.

Lease loans for two ambulances and a grader will be paid off. Road projects will be funded from the town’s reserve account rather be paid for by bond.

Much of the increases are related to salaries and other cost of doing business expenses.

The largest amount is Article 8 of the town warrant, a request from the Fire and Rescue Department to hire two per diem firefighters for weekend duty. Oxford already has EMS personnel on its weekend roster.

That crew is usually the first to respond to structure fires on weekends, who have at least two times this year saved homes from being destroyed when no others are immediately available. But that leaves no one able to go on ambulance calls.


Three of Oxford’s five selectmen, Selectmen Floyd Thayer, Caldwell Jackson and Vice-Chair Dana Dillingham, all voted to oppose recommending $977,522 in the article in April while the Budget Committee is recommending it be approved.

The proposed Police Department budget in Article 6 includes an increase of $66,082 to $1,073,273 for the year. According to Town Manager Adam Garland, the extra cost is based on a negotiated contract to align officer salaries with neighboring communities. An assessment of police salaries in Norway, Mechanic Falls and other towns showed that Oxford’s force is not receiving competitive salaries.

Oxford’s Recreation Committee budget (Article 10) is set for a $40,012 increase over the current year to accommodate establishing a summer camp program, with seasonal counselor positions, equipment and improvements to recreation fields. The higher expenses will be offset by camp tuition revenue.

A $2 million dollar savings to the town will not be seen on its ledgers: by financing $750,000 for the purchase of Oxford’s new town office last year, and using $300,000 in its construction reserve account for renovations, taxpayers no longer need to anticipate the expense of having new municipal headquarters built. The estimated cost for that project was projected to be $3 million or more.

The only non-routine article residents will be asked to vote on is Article 25, which will allow the town to waive foreclosure on property tax liens where circumstances exist that bring great expense to the town.

Comments are not available on this story.