OXFORD – Selectmen voted 4-1 Thursday night to approve a bid for $ 258,000 to design a municipal building and asked the city manager to consider placing a temporary office building on King Street.
The offer from Harriman Architects in Auburn was the only one received in the last round of tenders. The company will manage the project once construction begins.
Selectman Dana Dillingham voted against the offer, saying it was a lot of money with no other offers to compare.
City manager Adam Garland acknowledged this, but reminded council that no other company is interested in the project.
The calls for proposals were published for 30 days with the Maine Municipal Association, on the Oxford Facebook page and in the newspaper.
Garland has also reached out to other companies he has worked with and invited the few that have already submitted offers, but none have responded.
He informed Selectmen that with Thursday’s vote there is a need to make a decision on what to do with the Civic Center at 85 Pleasant Street, which has been on the market since August 2021.
The search for alternative office space in the city began three years ago after mold was discovered in the basement of the old school. The building has been subjected to sanitation and disinfection attempts at least three times in recent years, but conditions have continued to deteriorate.
The two-story wooden structure was built around 1900 and served as a school for decades. The city acquired it in 1998 and converted it into its municipal offices.
Voters have been offered several options in recent years: renovate the building, rent another space, and build another. Last summer they decided to sell it.
Garland presented an option on Thursday to raze the old King Street Police Station, rent a pre-fabricated office building, and set it up next to the recreation center. The site has a concrete slab and utilities.
Garland said he found a 28-foot-by-56-foot building similar to portable classrooms that would cost $ 15,000 to deliver and install. The rent would be $ 1,500 for six months; an 18-24 month lease would cost $ 1,090 per month. The building has sufficient offices and premises to accommodate all staff. Public meetings would be held at the nearby Recreation Center.
VP Sharon Jackson and Dillingham wanted Garland to know if the building is still available before committing.
Dillingham said he didn’t think it could be set up for $ 15,000 and wanted to see a full estimate first.
Selectman Scott Hunter urged board members to allow Garland to move forward with temporary accommodation, provided the fabricated building is still available.
Sharon Jackson agreed, saying Garland should continue, pending final approval from the selectmen.
Garland said he would, with an approval deadline of Jan.20.
During the public comment period, resident Peter Laverdiere asked if Oxford intended to resurrect the Thompson Lake Dam committee. He said a Polish manager called him for information as the city prepares its 2022 budget.
Polish officials, Otisfield and Casco, which also border the lake, agreed several years ago to each pay Oxford $ 5,000 a year to maintain the dam. However, Poland has not contributed for at least three years.
Selectman Floyd Thayer, who was not on the board when Oxford dissolved the committee, asked for information on the matter.
President Caldwell Jackson told him other cities don’t like the direction Oxford has taken to rehabilitate the dam, which is incremental rather than a complete replacement or a one-shot rebuild.
Sharon Jackson added that other cities want ownership and decision-making powers, which Oxford is unwilling to consider.
At Laverdière’s request, Garland said he would review payments from the three cities.
In other cases, elected officials approved the appointment of Dana Dean to the recreation committee. Garland said the committee had no more vacancies.
Selectmen also approved the Highway Department’s 2006 Ford F-150 sale advertisement through sealed offers. The highest bid will be approved at the February 3 meeting.
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