Oxford selectmen ice plans to build town office

OXFORD — Once again, selectmen rejected bids from three contractors for building, renovating or adding municipal office space to the Public Safety Building on Route 26.

The unanimous vote came after reviewing the proposals at a public workshop Thursday evening. They were: Doten’s Construction of Freeport, $2.8 million; Lajoie Brothers Inc. of Augusta, $1.9 million; and Hardypond Construction of Portland, $1.7 million.

During their regularly scheduled meeting immediately following the workshop, selectmen determined that it will be in the town’s best interest to hire a design engineer to oversee the eventual construction of an office and ask voters to approve raising the money for it in two years.

Voters in Oxford will be asked to authorize the Board of Selectmen to sell the town office building at 85 Pleasant Street. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

The town offices in the former Oxford High School at 85 Pleasant St. is plagued by moisture, mold and deteriorating conditions that make it an unsafe place to work and conduct business.

Also at the meeting selectmen revised the town meeting warrant. Article 36 will ask voters to approve a three-year lease to move the municipal offices to Oxford Plaza on Route 26. Article 37 will ask voters to authorize the board to sell the property at 85 Pleasant St.

Voters rejected a five-year lease at Oxford Plaza at a special town meeting in March.

The annual town meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, June 5, at Oxford Elementary School on Pleasant Street.

In other business, selectmen authorized Town Manager Adam Garland to lease two electric vehicles for three years through a program sponsored by Hyundai and Efficiency Maine. Rebates cover all costs except for a $400 turn-in fee at the end of the lease. One vehicle will be at the town wastewater treatment plan and the other at the town office. The vehicles will be help cut expenses on fuel in current vehicles as well as mileage reimbursements when employees use theirs for town business.

Code Enforcement Officer Joelle Whitman told the board that starting July 1 Maine’s energy codes will change from 2009 standards to 2015. She said applying the new standards means low E double pane windows will no longer be acceptable; triple pane will be necessary. She said contractors estimate the cost to build a new home will increase by $12,000 to  $20,000, aside from the skyrocketing costs of building materials. Standards for single-wide and double-wide manufactured homes will not change.

Whitman said anyone applying for a building permit before June 30 will be grandfathered under the current energy codes. Permits are valid for one year.

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