support Bay Path building project,
reject public works mutual aid
By Becky Harvey
OXFORD – Selectmen began their September 11 meeting with Chairman John Saad's request to observe a moment of silence in remembrance of the attacks in New York eleven years ago.
First on the agenda was Police Chief Michael Hassett, who requested permission to begin the process of hiring a new full-time sergeant in the wake of losing Officer Paul McCarthy in a transfer to the Marlboro Police Department last month. The chief stated that three new officers have recently joined the force and he anticipates another one or two more down the road. With that, there is a “sore need” for another (fourth) patrol sergeant to lead these officers. He believes that this addition will help increase the professional accountability of the department. Saad pointed out that there are a number of shifts presently that do not have an experienced supervisor on duty. With the addition of a fourth sergeant, Chief Hassett stated that nearly eighty percent of shifts would be covered by a supervising sergeant. Selectmen approved the request.
Chief Hassett made two additional requests of the board, both of which were approved. The first was to request permission to appoint a full time officer from the list of the permanent intermittent list. He also requested that the board approve a lateral transfer of Officer Jason Burdett from the Millbury Police Department back to Oxford. He transferred to a higher paying job four months ago, but is anxious to return “home.” According to selectman Henry LaMountain, a transfer of this nature is proof that the officer will do a good job. Knowing that he isn’t doing it for the money, rather, he wants to be in a town in which he feels at home. LaMountain commented that with the new additions, the Oxford Police Department will be at almost the force it was when he first took office nearly twelve years ago.
Bay Path Regional High School's superintendent, John Lafleche, was next on the agenda. He reminded the selectmen of the special vote on October 4, at which all ten communities which participate in Bay Path will vote on the $78.3 million expansion project. He told the selectmen that this project would make the school sustainable for the next fifty years or more. Dennis E. Lamarche stated that the town would save an enormous amount of money by going forward at this time when the state will be funding a very large percent of the project through a grant.
LaMountain said that Lafleche provided documentation stating that this project would cost the taxpayers less than forty dollars a year over the next twenty years. LaMountain also said that he wished Lafleche had brought more information about the cost of repairs, should the vote not pass. LaMountain’s understanding was that, should it not pass, costly repairs would need to be made which would not be subsidized by the state and would cost taxpayers only two dollars less than would the project, which would expand the school and update it so repairs would not be necessary. Selectman Jennie Cassie stated that the board was behind the project and that they (the board) had some work to do, convincing Oxford town residents to back this project. Saad said he’d like to see this project go forward. “Pay less now or more later. It’s as simple as that because eventually it’s going to cost us a lot more… and I hope people remember that when they go in to vote and not be shortsighted… If we don’t take advantage of the forty-six million that’s out there, somebody else will and it’ll end up costing us more in the long run…at least try to be informed before you go in to vote.”
Director of Public Works Sean Divoll spoke to the board about the two types of mutual aid available to the town: statewide public safety mutual aid and public works mutual aid. Divoll requested that the board approve a move for the town to opt-in to the public works mutual aid. It has two parts, one that supports non-emergency (such as sharing equipment, like a paving machine, between towns) and one that supports emergency needs. This gives the town low-cost or no-cost access to needed equipment and services. LaMountain questioned if towns who don’t take care of their equipment as well as Oxford does would be taking advantage of towns like Oxford by not having a real motivation to purchase and care for equipment if they could just borrow from other “opted-in” towns. He stated that he didn’t see any real benefit to it. After a great deal of back and forth, the board came to the consensus that opting in was not beneficial to the town and voted not to participate.
- Tuesday, 18 September 2012
- Posted in Categories: : News