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In Oxford, we have a Town Meeting form of government with a Board of Selectmen and a Board of Finance.

We also have a Board of Education. The Oxford Board of Education wants to put a metal roof with solar panels on the Oxford Great Oak Middle School to at least try to mitigate the costs of an electrically heated building. So the Oxford Board of Selectmen established a committee to look into the options available. That committee came back with a recommendation to proceed with the metal roof rather than once again going the route of the standard asphalt roof, which has never successfully kept the rain out anyway.

So far, so good. Deciding which way to go is a valid subject for debate. Everyone performed their responsibilities and the process continued. The next step was to send it to the Oxford Board of Finance to review the finances and make a recommendation to the town. That’s where it gets strange. The Oxford Board of Finance decided to review the options. Not the financing options, the roofing options!

This would be a sensible thing to do if the town had a Town Council form of government instead of a Town Meeting form of government and the Oxford Board of Finance was the Oxford Town Council. But we don’t and they aren’t.

I happen to like the idea of doing the metal roof now, but it is a valid subject for debate. That’s what the Town Meeting is for. I like the Town Meeting form of government, but recognize that the Town Council form of government has valid arguments in its favor. The folks trying to make the Oxford Board of Finance act like an Oxford Town Council are welcome to try to amend or rewrite the Town Charter. That is why there is a process to do that. If they get enough people to vote for those changes, then an Oxford Town Council could theoretically be reviewing the roofing options instead of the committee appointed by the Oxford Board of Selectmen. Whether an Oxford Board of Finance existed would be entirely dependent on whatever the new charter included.

But right now, we have a Town Meeting form of government with an Oxford Board of Selectmen to manage things and an Oxford Board of Finance to make sure those things are done in a financially sound way. I just wish these folks would stick to doing things according to the way the current form of government works rather than the way they would like it to be.

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