Ad Hoc committee to review future of town offices

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OXFORD — At least 10 people have expressed interest in participating in an ad hoc committee that is being established to review the future of the Town Office and perhaps other municipal buildings.

“We have posted on the town’s Facebook page that the town is looking for people to serve on the committee. To date, approximately ten people have expressed an interest in serving,” Town Manager Butch Asselin told the Advertiser Democrat.

Selectmen were prompted to review their options as the bills continue to grow to fix problems, such as poor air quality and mold and mildew that plague the Town Office that sits on an aquifer.

Asselin told the board at its Oct. 4 meeting if the town were to bond the cost of a new Town Office at $1.4 million, it would cost $97,447 annually over 20 years, plus $548,972 in total interest. On a 30-year note, it would cost $77,287 annually, with a total of $918,605 paid in interest.

Asselin suggested a committee be formed to look into relocating the Town Office, said an eight-year review of Town Office repairs and maintenance shows $193,495 has been spent.

This year, Asselin told selectmen at a recent board meeting, building-maintenance costs have increased more than $3,500, from $5,320 in 2017 to $8,857 in 2018.

The furnace and boiler costs increased significantly, from $1,264 in 2017 to $4,004 in 2018.

Fuel costs have decreased from $12,100 in 2012 to $9,845 in 2019. Other costs have remained relatively stable.

An indoor air quality and mold assessment at the Oxford Town Office released last month showed some areas have unacceptable levels of mold and poor air quality, particularly in the lower level of the building.

The limited assessment was conducted by Air Quality Management Services Inc. of Lewiston.

Because the current site will never improve in terms of moisture, officials are also looking at other town-owned land as possible sites for a new Town Office, such as the 5.3 acres at the Oxford Public Safety Building on Route 26. that are largely wet.

The selectmen will review the applications at its November 15 meeting and determine the makeup and the number of people who will sit on the committee, he said.

“The committee will decide what buildings they want to consider but it wouldn’t be out of their realm to review all of them,” explained Asselin.

If the board determines there is a need for new construction in the future, voters would have to approve a bond to construct a new building.

ldixon@sunmediagroup.ne