PARIS — A special town meeting is set for 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 25, to vote on giving selectmen permission to sign contracts to sell the old fire station on Pine Street.
Town Manager Amy Bernard told selectmen they don't have authority to approve the sale, or even for sign a contract for town services.
“Technically, you shouldn't be signing contracts for lawn mowing, contracts for the SAD, because you don't have authority to,” Bernard said. “Without that warrant article, you need to have authority to get into contracts, or even authorize me to get into contracts, without having that authority vested in you by the people of the town in town meeting.”
A warrant article would give the board permission to enter multiyear contracts with auditors, mowers and others without specific town meeting permission. The board had been making those agreements on its own, but Bernard said it doesn't currently have permission to do so. The article would fix that.
Bernard said the town's attorney brought the issue to her attention when he told her selectmen don't have authority to sell the old fire station.
Selectmen signed the warrant, but on Wednesday Town Clerk Elizabeth Knox said the town's lawyer advised a slight wording change. Selectmen will sign the new warrant in time for the Feb. 25 meeting, Knox said.
Bernard has been negotiating the sale of the old fire station with Sandra and Terry Swett who own Swett Signs, a sign and design company based in Bridgton. The Swetts plan to move their sign business to the lower level and rent the upper level for functions and business meetings. They've offered $25,000 for the building, and recently the board voted to formalize the lot at Market Square as public parking to allow spaces for the event center's customers.
The Board of Selectmen will hold its regular meeting after the town meeting.