The assessed value of this Thompson Lake home at 19 Lunts Point Lane in Oxford is being disputed by its owners, Gerald and Rosemary Nicklaus. Its tax value was assessed at $1.175 million in 2023. It is currently listed for sale for $2.25 million. Its value increased, in part, after the Nicklauses directed Oxford to correct the property’s acreage from 0.49 to 1.22 acres. The owners applied for an abatement of $103,300, which the board of selectmen unanimously voted down March 21. The home’s 2023-24 tax bill is $10,339. Supplied photo

OXFORD — Oxford selectmen considered 12 property abatement applications during their March 21 meeting, approving eight and denying four. Abatement requests have streamed into the town since 2023-24 tax bills were mailed out in September after a town-wide property revaluation done last summer.

The deadline for residents to dispute their revised property tax assessments was Monday, March 25.

Eight abatement requests totaling $2,461.36 were approved. Four others, representing more than $267,000 in tax revenue, were denied. Tax Assessor Colleen Halse attended the meeting to answer questions. One of the four owners, Deborah Page of Arlington, Mass., also attended via Zoom.

Halse spoke on behalf of Gerald and Rosemary Nicklaus, owners of the property at 19 Lunts Point Lane, which the town assigned an assessed value to of $1,174,900. “The Nicklauses couldn’t be here, but they wanted to make clear they do not agree with my analysis. They submitted their own and are quite sure theirs is correct and therefore mine in wrong. Since they couldn’t be here they asked me to state that, so there you go.

“Our contacts started after they put their property on the market. They had come forward when the previous assessor was here that their acreage was incorrect; they were being assessed at 0.49 acres but it is actually 1.22 acres. They brought documentation and we adjusted their account to the proper acreage, which made their assessment go up. They find that unacceptable – they wanted the acreage changed but not the corresponding land value.”

Following the revaluation, the owners selected comparable properties for their own analysis.


“I took their comps and also looked at comparable properties,” Halse said. “They did a decent job with their abatement application, but the reality is that the properties they chose were not comparable, for different reasons.”

Including their homestead exemption of $25,000, the Nicklaus’ property valuation for the current tax year is $1,174,900. It is currently listed for sale at $2.25 million.

Selectman Floyd Thayer made a motion to deny the abatement. Dillingham seconded and it was unanimously voted down.

The other three abatement applications, from Larry and Carol Labossiere’s property at 40 Loop Lane, Chaos Comforters, LLC’s property at Old County Road and Deborah Page’s property on Island View Lane, which is boxed in between the shore of Marshall Pond and conservation land and hard to access, were also refused.

During public comment, Bruce Wilson of the Hogan and Whitney Ponds Association presented to the board about ongoing projects to preserve their watershed, which consists of a five square mile perimeter around the two ponds.

“We juggle about 10 different projects a year,” Wilson said, noting that the work is all done by volunteers. “Milfoil eradication in Hogan Pond is just one of them.


“Tonight I am here to talk about a grant we’ve been given by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to prevent soil erosion from going into the ponds. It’s a two-year grant that will total $133,000, half of which must be raised locally as a match.”

Four activities for the grant, which is halfway to completion, and going forward will be heavily focused on technical work. Volunteers visited 35 erosion sites in the the watershed and prepared a detailed report for landowners, including the town due to Rabbit Valley Road being located within its perimeter and connected to five of the identified erosion sites.

“We’ve identified the sites and this year we need to spend the money to get those sites fixed,” Wilson said. “The state will give us $30,000 to fix erosion from Rabbit Valley Road, but we have to match that locally.”

To complete the match, Wilson said town-owned equipment and employee labor used to clean ditches along the road can be applied toward the local contribution. Two campgrounds operating on the shores of the two ponds, Two Lakes and Dunn’s Camp, will contribute toward the grant match and help clean soil erosion; and most property owners of the 15 identified residential sites have agreed in principal to clean their individual lots.

“In the first phase of the grant in 2020-21, which was $85,000, we prevented 131 tons of soil per year from entering the ponds,” Wilson said. “Much was done along Winter Brook Stream, which flows under Rabbit Valley Road. We put new rock in there, cleaned a lot of it up and prevented more soil erosion.

“We also need to educate the community about the work our association does. We do workshops in the summer – we did one on road repair and brought in someone from DEP, showing people how to repair their private and association-owned roads. We also have developed a curriculum for the local elementary school …. And we’ve developed a website to educate not only our watershed residents, but others as well.”


People can learn more about the local watershed and work being done to protect it at

Residents of Jenny Lane and Independence Drive spoke during public comment about the continuing issue of loose and menacing dogs in their neighborhood.

“We have a petition that circulated our neighborhood, with 18 signatures and phone numbers,” Joel Haslett of 25 Jenny Lane said. “These people are all concerned and have had similar experiences with these dogs.

“When one dog was loose on March 16, the [owners] posted about a lost dog, and put in red ‘caution: do not approach’ the dog. That’s an admission they understand they have dangerous dogs.”

Haslett said on the 20th, a neighbor reported the dogs were again loose in his yard. He thanked the police department and Animal Control Officer Robert Larrabee for their help on the issue but said court fines have not deterred the owners. Police Chief Rickie Jack confirmed the residents at 33 Jenny Lane have been summonsed 22 times for having dogs at large.

The original two dogs had a litter last year and another recently. As many as seven have been seen at the home at different times.

Penny Bryant of Independence Drive, whose back property line abuts with 33 Jenny Lane also spoke.

“My concern, they let the dogs out day and night,” she said. “We’ve been awoken at one, two, three o’clock in the morning. We to listen to those dogs yap all night. Isn’t there an ordinance about noise after a certain time at night?”

Select Chair Dana Dillingham requested that Town Manager Adam Garland circulate copies of Oxford’s noise ordinances for discussion during the next meeting, which will be April 4. “I don’t believe the noise ordinance applies to dogs,” Dillingham told Bryant. “It’s very annoying, but I don’t know if it meets the criteria.”

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