Oxford bills Casco $5,000 for dam damage

By Dawn De Busk
Staff Writer

CASCO – The Town of Oxford sent the Town of Casco a $5,000 bill to help defray the costs of damage control after a large valve failed, causing water to flow from the Thompson Lake Dam into the Cooks Mill.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the Casco Board of Selectmen agreed the debt would remain unpaid — until officials from Oxford explained how the bill was being split up.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate we should pay 25 percent of the bill,” Selectman Ray Grant said.

Earlier he had explained, “They were talking about splitting it four ways, and there was talk about basing it on the percentage of lakefront.”

Chairman Barbara York echoed the sentiment of her fellow selectman.

“We should not pay one-fourth,” she said.

“I’d like someone to come explain that. I don’t know what the invoice is. We should table it,” York said.

According to Town Manager Dave Morton, the incident happened last year.

However, Casco was in the middle of its budget-planning process and Oxford hadn’t calculated the total cost for damage repair yet. At the time, Oxford officials had given notice to the four towns around Thompson Lake that it would like financial assistance when the bill was finally tallied, according to Morton.

Thompson Lake Dam is owned by the Town of Oxford, while the Cooks Mills are privately owned.

Morton said it was the board’s decision to pay the bill soon, budget the bill into next season, and even request more information about how and when the costs were accrued.

If the selectmen decided to pay the $5,000 before the new fiscal year, voters approved setting aside $15,000 in the Contingency Plan and a portion from the line item could be used, according to Morton.

“To be fair to everyone, this is something the board should try to resolve as quickly as possible,” he said.

Going forward, the town manager will invite Oxford officials to a future board meeting to explain what portion of damage control expenses Casco was being asked to pay.

“Five thousand dollars is not a lot to spend to protect that lake,” resident Phil Shane said.

“We shouldn’t quibble over it. It’s not too much money to protect the lake and our waterfront property,” Shane said.

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