District land purchase moving along

According to Oxford Schools Superintendent Tim Throne, the district’s recent attempts to purchase the 13.6 acres of land adjacent to the high school are moving along at a healthy pace.

At the board of education’s Dec. 18 meeting, Throne updated the progress he and his team had made since he last reported to the board at its Dec. 11 meeting. In that week-long period, Throne and his colleagues were able to push the Dec. 31 deadline back one month, remove some exceptions from the purchase agreement and set the property’s environmental audit to be completed by Dec. 27.

The purchase agreement’s original deadline was Dec. 31, but Throne had warned the board at the Dec. 11 meeting that he and his team may not be able to meet that date. At the time, he said he was working as quickly as he could while not allowing details to fall through the cracks. With the new deadline of Jan. 31, 2019, the district will have another month to complete everything needed to purchase the property.

With that extension, the board was aware that more time could also result in more money spent. But, the property will remain at the originally agreed upon price of $500,000 until Jan. 31. But, the land will be taxable with the new deadline, which the district will likely pay a portion of alongside the property’s existing owner, Burton-Katzman.

The funds to purchase the land will come from the district’s general fund.

Aside from the major date and cost agreements, Throne has also been speaking with Oxford Township officials, who he said are responding positively. The Oxford Township Board will have to vote at some point in the near future on the district’s desired relocation of water and sewer easements on the property.

“All of the survey has been completed, and the township has informally reviewed and approved the new locations of easements,” Throne said.

Though Throne said he and his team have been successful in the last week in removing many of the exceptions from the land, he will be continually working to remove them in entirety.

“We don’t want any exceptions on that land so that, basically, the district can do whatever with the land, whatever it sees fit, down the road,” Throne said.

The board of education will meet again on Jan. 8 at Oxford High School. Meetings start at 6:30 p.m.