Oxford residents vote on an article during annual town meeting Saturday, which was the first to be held in the newly renovated Town Hall at 127 Pottle Road. Evan Houk/Advertiser Democrat

OXFORD — Approximately 80 residents approved all 40 articles without amendments and heard discourse about the School Administrative District 17 budget during Saturday’s annual town meeting.

This year’s meeting was the first to take place inside the newly renovated Town Hall at 127 Pottle Road, Town Manager Adam Garland said.

The approved 2024-25 municipal budget totals $6.29 million, which is up $581,257, or 10.2%, from last year. It includes $1.01 million allocated to various reserve accounts, such as highway improvement and fire/rescue equipment.

Residents approved the solar moratorium, which will be in place for 180 days to allow the town to “review the potential impacts of these developments,” according to notes included with the article.

The Select Board can vote to extend the moratorium by another 180 days if needed, but would have to come back to town meeting to extend it beyond that, Garland said.

“If they find that there needs to be an ordinance in place, we’d have to draft an ordinance and present that to the town for a final vote,” he said.


The moratorium is applicable retroactively to Feb. 15 of this year.

Moderator Henry Jackson tallies a vote during Oxford’s annual town meeting Saturday at the Town Hall. All 40 articles passed without amendment. Evan Houk/Advertiser Democrat

“If the building permit has been issued, then they could break ground. They will be grandfathered,” Oxford Code Enforcement Officer Kingston Brown said in response to a question from resident June Mosher. “Planning Board approval without a permit will not be grandfathered.”

The land use ordinance amendments passed added requirements governing the use of accessory dwelling units attached or separate from the main structure on a property, including tiny homes, and the zoning process for establishing affordable housing developments in town.

Residents also heard from three members of the School Administrative District 17 board of directors at the conclusion of the public portion of the meeting, who urged them to vote “yes” on the school budget referendum on June 11.

“(The district budget committee) tried to come up with a budget that we felt was fair to the school system and was also something the towns could feel they can vote in favor of,” Director Gary Smith said. “There is no fluff in the budget.”

During the SAD 17 public hearing and validation vote for the budget on May 14, voters approved adding $2 million to the district’s capital reserve account, to be funded from the local share. With the addition, total spending in the budget is $53.6 million, an increase of 11.7% from the current year. There is currently no available plan detailing priorities and projects.


This $2 million is part of a 10-year plan to build up a capital reserve account for an estimated $22 million in repairs that are needed at the eight elementary schools in the district, Director Shauna Broyer said.

“We are trying to be proactive and not reactive,” she said.

Select Board Chair Dana Dillingham said he is not necessarily opposed to the $2 million allocation for the capital reserve account, he only wishes there was an outline or plan for where and how those funds will be spent.

“My issue with this budget is strictly the $2 million of extra money that is not designated to go to any one item,” he said. “Unlike our budget, we just passed a million dollars worth of capital improvement projects, and everybody here can look and see what every dollar is going to go towards.”

Director Smith agreed with Dillingham’s assessment and said that reports are being worked on in committee detailing where that money will be spent.

School Administrative District 17 Director Gary Smith, right, ponders a question Saturday from Oxford Select Board Chair Dana Dillingham, left, about the $2 million addition to the district’s budget that is not allocated for any specific project during annual town meeting. Three members of the school board of directors urged residents to vote for the budget referendum, while the Select Board issued public notice asking residents to vote it down. Evan Houk/Advertiser Democrat

Director Nathan Broyer said he has spoken with Superintendent Heather Manchester about being more transparent in posting items, especially those detailing large building projects and costs on SAD 17’s website.


“We need to put on the website all the priorities for the whole district, what the dollar amount is, what the current state is, and how we’re going to fund it,” he said.

The Select Board approved issuing a public notice urging residents to vote “no” on the school district’s budget referendum during the statewide primary June 11 “given the unprecedented increase proposed by this year’s MSAD 17 budget.”

The public notice reads that the board “simply ask that MSAD 17 produce a more realistic and fiscally responsible budget.”

Both the Paris and West Paris select boards also recently approved a similar notice.

The election of municipal officers and school budget referendum vote takes place June 11. Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Town Hall.

Three people are running for two, three-year terms on the Select Board. Current members G. Scott Hunter and Floyd Thayer are on the ballot, along with Ryan John Brown. Penelope Lowe is the sole candidate for the one, three-year term on the Oxford Water District board. Gary Smith, current SAD 17 board of directors member, is running for another three-year term.

The June 6 select board meeting has been cancelled due to several conflicting schedules this week. The July 4, the selectmen’s meeting has been cancelled due to the Independence Day holiday. Garland said special meetings may be scheduled in the event that any urgent situations arise.

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