A new library, another ambulance, a new roof at Quaker Farms School and $350,000 worth of security upgrades to Oxford’s public schools.
Those are some of the capital improvements Oxford will consider for the 2013-14 fiscal year.
Finance Director Jim Hliva has put out a list of all potential capital improvements (see PDF attached) that the town could fund within the next five years. All told, that plan totals $39.4 million.
The capital plan, along with the proposed town and school budgets, will be sent to the Board of Finance. Residents will have the ultimate say at referendum.
The items that will most likely pique some interest are the ambulance, the library and the school security upgrades.
- The Oxford Ambulance Association has put in for a new ambulance for three years and has been turned down each time. The association says it does not have enough ambulances to go to all calls necessary in town. A new ambulance would cost $198,000; the plan calls for $455,000 for the ambulance upgrades over the next five years.
- The town has been discussing a new library since it was promised one by a former first selectman in the late 1970s. Since then, the library has stayed in its same location, in a small location on the first floor of Town Hall. Selectmen say they will support spending $2.1 million, which will go toward more than $900,000 the library has been bequeathed by the estate of longtime resident Miriam Strong. The current capital plan calls for the library to be completed in the 2013-14 fiscal year.
- And after the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14 that claimed the lives of 20 children and six educators, Oxford First Selectman George Temple said money is no object when it came to school safety. Temple has asked for $350,000 in the 2013-14 capital plan for security upgrades, including new security cameras, for all four schools. Temple would say exactly what school security measures he has in mind, saying it safer to not say exactly what the safety plans are. He says the town is in the process of selling land that will pay for the cost of security upgrades in the schools.
Other projects of note include a $1 million school roof project for Quaker Farms School; $900,000 for townwide paving and drainage; $260,000 toward the reconstruction of Christian Street; new equipment for fire and public works; increases in workman’s compensation insurance; a part-time police officer; and a new position in the tax collector’s officer, Hliva said. (Both the part-time police officer and the new tax collector position have been filled.)
The Board of Finance will also be charged with deciding on the operating budgets for the next fiscal year. The Board of Education has proposed a $27.19 million budget, or $650,000 – 2.45 percent – over the current expenditure.
Selectmen last week approved a municipal spending increase of $922,966, or 6.9 percent, over the current $13.4 million budget.
Because the proposals are in their very early stages, the proposed mill rate increase effect of the proposed budgets has not been calculated. Currently, Oxford has a mill rate of 24.1.