$40 Million in Projects Proposed in 5-Year Capital Plan Proposed

Oxford officials want to fund library, athletic fields, school upgrades, road repairs, etc.

Town officials will seek approval from taxpayers to construct a new athletic field at and put a new roof on  next year.

Those would cost about $3 million and $1 million, respectively.

In the following year, they may be back asking for permission to bond $5.5 million to build a new town .

Those numbers were revealed Wednesday at by the Board of Selectmen in the form of their five-year capital plan for expensive items, such as construction projects and road repairs.

All told, the plan shows spending totaling $40 million - $21 million of that would come from bond. The figure includes money for building repairs, resurfaced and reconstructed roads, new emergency vehicles and even a new animal shelter. Officials will hold a town meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at Town Hall to ask residents whether they should approve the capital plan.

Readers take note: just because the plan has been drafted, it doesn’t necessarily mean all of the projects included in it will be funded. The purpose of capital plans, which are typically drafted by town officials in all municipalities, is to draft what officials see as priorities for the town; taxpayers could eventually be asked at referendums whether they want to support funding the projects.

Two projects that have been debated for years in Oxford and are on the list include the athletic fields at the high school and the new library. The capital plan, released to the press by Finance Director Jim Hliva after Wednesday’s meeting, shows $5.5 million for a new library in fiscal year 2013-14. The plan also shows athletic fields for the high school but that is the only line item that does not show a total amount; it simply says “note 1” and that note indicates the town wants to try to get a field proposal before voters this year.

First Selectman George Temple and Selectman Jeff Haney, Republican running mates who both have sons who play football and other sports at the high school, said they hope to have a turf field project completed in time for the student-athletes to play on it in the fall. Haney says he has come up with a plan for the project, the finalized details of which he has yet to present to the public, which will be much cheaper than a proposal drafted over the span of a year by the New Oxford School Planning and Building Committee. Haney is expected to ask taxpayers to fund $3 million for the field project, and it appears Temple is inclined to go with his plan over that of the NOSPBC.

Haney would not confirm the $3 million number after Wednesday’s meeting; he said he plans to have a town meeting about his field proposal in the near future and that he will have all of his plans finalized in a few days. Hliva said Wednesday the town is looking for developers who can complete field projects. He said the town is part of a consortium of local towns that allows it to seek and hire developers without going through a typical bid process. 

Several other projects considered

It also appears from the capital plan proposal that selectmen and school board members want to put major renovations into Oxford Center School over the next five years. The total amount selectmen want to pump into that building - which Board of Education facilities subcommittee Chairwoman Amy Cote said has outlived its functionality as an educational facility - is $18 million. A majority of that, $17.79 million, would be spent in FY 2014-15. Of that, $7.9 million would pay for an addition to the school; $4.29 million would go toward repairs of structural deficiencies; $3.3 million would replace mechanical systems; and $1.3 million would fix code violations. Several other expenditures are included in the Center School proposal. 

Some of the other highlights from the capital plan include:

  • $5.3 million over five years for paving and drainage in town
  • $2.6 million to complete reconstruction of Christian Street in fiscal years 2012-13 and 2013-14;
  • $1.8 million for upgrades at Great Oak Middle School over five years;
  • $1 million for FY 2012-13 to put a new roof on Quaker Farms School – a total of $1.47 million for that school over five years;
  • $1.4 million for a new fire pumper truck over five years;
  • $550,000 for a pump station at Technology Park in FY 2013-14;
  • $500,000 for an ambulance building addition for FY 2013-14;
  • $495,000 over five years for a new ambulance;
  • $400,000 for oil tank replacement;
  • $230,000 in FY 2012-13 for a new fire tanker truck;
  • $150,000 for the dog pound in FY 2012-13.
Paul Singley March 08, 2012 at 04:09 PM
The new roof proposal for next year is for Quaker Farms School. The wrong school was listed in the original article posted early this morning. We regret the error and have fixed it.
Jen March 08, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Funny how there are no improvements for Center School. That school was supposed to be replaced in the 80's. That's 30 years ago. Why doesn't the town invest in a new elementary school? Then they can rehab Center School for a library, BOE offices, etc.
Irene Krom-Kirby March 10, 2012 at 02:09 AM
And why does the brand new high school now need a new field by the fall when the elementary schools need their improvements immediately but are slated for years in the future. Why don't these over privilaged children take a look at what Emmett O'Brien high school dealt with just to get a team. None of them cried about not looking good to the other towns they played! Maybe Oxford should have joined the ranks of their own kind. Oxford is in the Valley isn't it? Oxford needs to take a good look at who is suggesting the new field. Probably the same individuals who chose those wonderful contractors who built it. What does that tell you? Wake up people isn't it more important that our children are schooled in a safe environment rather than save face with a town you have no right playing to begin with?
Craig Zac March 12, 2012 at 04:53 PM
I dont understand the whole "consortium" thing that lets towns choose contractors without the bidding process... Doesnt that leave alot of room for "Favors" and such? I would think that having 3 or 4 builders bid on the work, we could actually get a good deal instead of say, someones brlther in law or cousin getting the job because of who he knows or is related to. But like I sais, I dont understand the whole consortium process...
Abe March 17, 2012 at 09:17 PM
You are absolutely correct. Existing structures need to be taken care of first by the tax payers. I would also assume that all the looking into getting the athletic fields is costing money too. The economy has not improved to where it was before the downturn so we still need to be financially prudent. In other words, if your work truck needs a new transmission, you don't go out and buy a Porche. If anyone out there has a million or more that they would like to donate towards the athletic fields, that would be fantastic.


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