PARIS — Tax assessor Gerry Samson told selectmen Monday that a recent vote to hire per diem firefighters will not affect the tax rate.

Samson said the tax rate will remain at $13.60 per $1,000 of assessed value, the same rate as last year. The funds for the firefighters will be taken out of an overlay fund which the assessor is allowed to put aside.

Voters at a special town meeting July 26 voted to approve $90,995 to staff the fire station with three qualified firefighters between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. for 246 days of the year. Most of the funds will be used to pay the firefighters $11 per hour, with another $6,697 for FICA and Medicare costs.

Chief Brad Frost made the request for per diem firefighters after telling the selectmen that the department is understaffed during the daytime due to volunteers working outside of the area, increasing the possibility of slower response times. The appropriation, which took $50,000 from a reserve account related to the former fire station on Pine Street and $40,995 from taxation, will fund the positions for one year.

Samson said the taxation amount will be taken from the overlay, which would have stood at about $70,000 and now will be at about $30,000. The assessor is allowed to put aside up to five percent of tax revenue in the overlay to cover abatements and other costs related to assessments. If the money is not used, it is put into the town’s general fund.

“Most years it’s not used, and it also has the benefit of replacing whatever monies have been taken out of surplus,” Samson said.

Samson said about 1,200 residents who have a homestead exemption will see an approximately $40 annual tax increase. He said the tax increase is a result of the state changing the exemption from a $13,000 reduction in value to a $10,000 reduction in value on assessments.

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