By Becky Harvey
OXFORD - After opening with a moment of silence to remember three men who served the town of Oxford for many years - James Dwyer, Jon Larson and Alphonse Vigeant - selectmen chairman, John Saad opened the selectmen’s meeting on March 26, which began with a presentation by Town Accountant Donna Foglio. She first showed the town's revenue history since 2004. She demonstrated that the revenues are now coming mostly from the tax levy and less than half coming from state aid. As it always has been, educational costs were the largest expenditures in the town, followed closely by health care costs. One thing that the FY2014 budget will address is previous losses of hours for town employees, including town hall and library employees. The new budget proposal will allow a restoration of some of the previously cut hours. Two of the town’s health insurers, Tufts and Fallon, have not increased their fees and costs for fiscal 2014, benefiting the town’s bottom line. There were a number of capital requests from different departments. adding up to a little over $1.25million. The largest capital request, representing almost a full half of the value of all capital requests, was for $500 thousand for the repair of the town hall’s clock tower. Zeneski noted that leaks from the clock tower have caused massive damage to the memorial marble stones in the entryway of town hall. Public works, Public Safety and the Schools also made request for different capital projects. All told, the town has received requests for capital expenditures in the amount of $5,645,700 for the fiscal year 2014 budget.
The special ballot that approved funding the expansion project at Bay Path will cause the town to add $56,810 in payment to the school from the FY 2014 budget. The amount will significantly increase and cause the town’s operating budget to be reduced to accommodate the rise in future fiscal years.
Three of the issues brought before the board were regarding the obtaining of class II licenses by businesses in the town. Due to the fact that Selectman Henry LaMountain’s brother has a class II license, he abstained from participating in the discussions. Selectman Michael Voas has business dealings with LaMountain’s brother as well, so he too abstained. With Selectman Jennie Caissie’s absence from the meeting, both LaMountain and Voas remained solely to allow a quorum. They didn’t want to hold off on hearing from the businesses due to the fact that some had been put off a number of times already. All three requests for Class II Licenses, allowing auto sales in town, passed.
Viral Patel, the new owner of the Oxford Package Store, appeared to enter a pledge agreement. This allows a creditor to liquidate stock should the owner default on his loan. After some discussion on what would happen with regards to the bank’s taking over of a liquor license, the board unanimously voted to accept Patel’s pledge.
Ralph Lapore, a twenty year planning board member, offered his resignation on the 21st of February. The selectmen all agreed that Lapore was a wonderful member who cared deeply for the residents of the town. All offered their thanks and appreciation for all of the work he did.
May 21st is the Annual Town Meeting. Zeneski requested that the board vote to add a debt exclusion for the Bay Path expansion to the docket for the meeting.
Alan Hammond, who is heading up the 300th anniversary celebration of the town’s incorporation, brought up the fact that there is a question as to when the town was actually incorporated. It seems that the town was incorporated on July 8th, 1713, but the papers weren’t recorded in Boston until the next week, on the 15th. Hammond has requested that the town putsforth legislation to have a specific date. Saad stated that Oxford ought to have an actual date listed, legally as to this monumental date. Senator Moore sent a letter framing exactly how this could be done with the blessing of the governor The board voted to go forth with all avenues, stating that whichever happens first will be the way in which they will go.
Wednesday April 10th is the last day to register to vote for the special primary for the vote to replace the senate seat vacated by Secretary of State, John Kerry. The town hall will remain open on that date until 8 p.m.