With no potentially divisive issues on the Town Meeting warrant this year, the meeting attracted a much smaller crowd of Oxford voters than in the last two years. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

OXFORD — Forty residents made quick work of passing a $5.7 million budget Saturday during the annual Town Meeting at Oxford Elementary School.

The meeting drew less than half of last year’s crowd, and half as many residents as the year before.

With no articles pertaining to the town’s cannabis ordinance or municipal headquarter solutions, as in the previous few years, residents were disinclined to debate any issues or budgetary items.

Oxford’s operating budget for the fiscal year that starts on July 1 passed with little discussion, despite increased spending of 4.2%, to $5,733,843.

One budgetary item that did garner a recount was Article 8, which sought to increase the fire and safety budget by $134,000 over 2022-23, to $977,522. Fire Chief Paul Hewey had requested that Oxford hire two per diem firefighters to work Saturdays and Sundays.

Currently the Fire and Rescue department is staffed with both firefighters and EMS workers Monday through Friday, and two EMS workers on weekends. At least two homes in town over the past several months have been saved from burning down because the EMS per diem staff were able to arrive within minutes of the calls. However, that leaves no one available to quickly respond to rescue calls when EMS personnel are on fire scenes.


Selectmen and Budget Committee members were split on the $134,000 increase. The committee supported having the weekend coverage. Three of the five selectmen, Vice Chair Dana Dillingham, Caldwell Jackson and Floyd Thayer, recommended a less steep increase that would see the fire station staffed only one of the weekend days.

When moderator Henry Jackson asked for a show of hands for and against approving $977,522 it was close enough that he repeated the call for a count. Twenty-five voters were in favor of full weekend coverage, while 15 voted against it.

Resident Kathleen Dillingham made a motion to vote on Articles 21-32 in one block vote. The articles all easily passed with little question.

Moderator Jackson made a motion — which passed by a wide margin — that residents vote to take no action on Article 33. The article had called for a written ballot to see whether the town would increase the maximum property tax levy limit established by state law.

Selectman Caldwell Jackson, who also represents House District 72 in the Legislature, presented Roger Jackson with a public service award and Town Manager Adam Garland with the Spirit of America award.

By 10:30 a.m. all articles were voted on and moderator Jackson called the meeting to be recessed until 8 a.m. on June 13 for local elections, which will be held at the Town Office at 127 Pottle Road.

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