Oxford selectmen meet Thursday night at the Municipal Building, voting 3-2 to set the property tax rate for 2023-24 at $8.80 per $1,000 of assessed value. The rate, down from $15, last year, is based in part on a recent townwide property revaluation. From left are Floyd Thayer, Caldwell Jackson, Sharon Jackson, Vice Chairman Scott Hunter and Chairman Dana Dillingham. Nicole Carter/Advertiser Democrat

OXFORD — Selectmen voted 3-2 Thursday night to slash the property tax rate by more than 41%, based in part on the recent townwide property revaluation.

Sharon Jackson, Caldwell Jackson and Chairman Dana Dillingham voted for the new rate of $8.80 per $1,000 of property value; Floyd Thayer and Vice Chairman Scott Hunter opposed.

Tax bills will be sent next month.

The rate is based on the town collecting $7.14 million in taxes and using $2 million in Oxford Casino revenues for this fiscal year.

That compares with last year’s tax commitment of $6.99 million and $1.5 million from casino revenues, which resulted in a property tax rate of $15 per $1,000 of assess value.

Town Manager Adam Garland proposed using $1.5 million from the casino again to offset the higher assessments. That would set the tax rate between $9.45 and $9.50, and doubling the overlay account from $50,000 to $100,000 in anticipation of abatement requests.


Oxford collected $2.2 million in casino revenues last year and expects to receive $2.4 million for this fiscal year, which ends June 20, 2024.

Selectman Sharon Jackson said she would not support any tax rate higher than $9.

“I support using $2 million in casino revenue,” she said, “because of the increased assessments and increase that it will bring to taxpayers.”

Selectman Floyd Thayer opposed allocating so much from casino revenues when it will not be available until next year.

“I don’t want my taxes higher than anyone does,” he said.” “I hate spending money before you get it.”

“I see the way things are going right now,” Selectman Caldwell Jackson said. “In the state and the country, and with the inflation rate. We have a lot of older people in Oxford. People are living on set incomes. I agree with Sharon, use $2 million and keep it at $8.80.”


Sharon Jackson pointed out that none of the projected revenue has been collected.

“When we do the mill rate calculation, all revenue is estimated of what next year will be,” she said. “The casino, excise taxes gets added in, dog fees. We may estimate $700,000 for excise tax but what if we only take in $400,000? Like the casino, it’s all based on estimates.

“I don’t remember a year that revenues come in lower than the estimates,” she said. “We have to apply the same thinking for casino revenue as we do for everything else. And this year it’s critical because of the increases people will see. Even with an $8.80 mill rate, people are going to see significant increases.”

Vice Chairman Scott Hunter supported keeping the casino allocation lower, saying it is not a guaranteed basis for Oxford’s financial security.

“A few years ago we lost $800,000 in casino revenue and there’s no way to get that money back,” he said. “If you don’t pay your taxes we can come take your home but we can’t do that with $2 million … To me, the casino is our paper mill. It could close tomorrow.”

“We haven’t spent all the casino money from last year,” Chairman Dana Dillingham said. “We have a very healthy fund balance — $1.3 million set aside. That’s what the reserve is for.


“The more we use from the casino money, the more people can keep in their pocket for property taxes,” he said. “My stay on the board has always been about keeping your property taxes as low as possible, therefore I will probably lean toward using more rather than less of casino reserves to do just that.”

“Is there a compromise? Can’t we come between those numbers?” Thayer asked.

Caldwell Jackson made a motion to appropriate $2 million of casino money, set the overlay at $99,000 and set the tax rate at $8.80, which Sharon Jackson seconded. It passed 3-2.

In other business, Police Chief Rickie Jack said there were no bids received to outfit the department’s new pickup truck or for window replacement at the Public Safety Building.

He received an offer of $17,000 from one business that has set up police cruisers for Oxford, which would put the truck purchase $4,700 overbudget.

Dillingham asked him to provide two more quotes for the board to review before approving the expense.


Jack also said one window supplier suggested the leaky windows be inspected and possibly reinstalled instead of replaced.

Dillingham supported an inspection, but asked that he also find three quotes for replacement.

Hunter stressed that the windows, which are 20 years old, should be replaced regardless.

In his report, Garland announced positions that need to be filled: a full-time assessing agent, a deputy town clerk, full-time highway department drivers and laborers, part-time seasonal equipment operators with CDL license, and multiple per-diem and per-call fire fighters and EMTs.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: