PARIS — Selectmen disagreed on whether money budgeted for per diem firefighters at a special town meeting last year should have counted toward the total 2010-11 budget for purposes of flat lining next year’s budget.

Also Monday, Selectman Ted Kurtz stood by earlier statements calling Town Manager Phil Tarr “dishonest” for factoring in the special town meeting money.

During Tarr’s update to the board on Monday, he said he took issue with Kurtz’s “personalization” in his communications to Tarr over last year’s budget.

“We have all worked hard to serve the citizens of Paris. The fact that Mr. Kurtz chooses this course of action is negatively impacting all town employees,” Tarr said. “It also consumes a disproportionate amount of my time away from other, more important things.”

Kurtz stood by his e-mails and his characterizations of Tarr. “The simple fact of the matter is that Phil misrepresented the amount of last year’s budget,” he said.

“If I’m a selectman, and he’s reporting to me, he is not going to misrepresent a fact,” Kurtz said. “And that simple fact is, the amount of the budget was approved at the town meeting last year.”

Kurtz said Tarr falsely inflated last year’s budget by adding the special town meeting money “for the purposes of increasing the budget for this year to be flat lined to (that amount).”

He said an earlier budget Tarr handed out this year didn’t include the firefighter wages in the total budget. “I stand by my assessment of him that he has a history of deception, incomplete disclosure and a lack of veracity.”

“You are a man that I cannot trust,” Kurtz told Tarr.

Selectmen voted 4-1 in January not to raise the budget over the 2010-11 total.

The 2010-11 total Tarr brought to the Budget Committee came to about $3,396,000, which included about $50,000 for per diem firefighter wages approved at a special town meeting.

Kurtz said the 2011-12 budget shouldn’t be based on the additional $50,000. In an e-mail to Tarr the day after the April 11 board meeting, Kurtz said he believed Tarr’s “conduct in this regard constitutes insubordination with regard to the Board.”

“For me, it is perfectly clear that a reference to a flat line budget refers to the official town budget of one year ago,” Kurtz said.

At Monday’s meeting, board Chairman Raymond Glover said it was understood when the Budget Committee first began that the money approved at the special meeting was part of the 2010-11 budget, and that $3.396 million would be the cap for next year’s suggested budget.

“That town meeting was held soon enough that that total money could fit into the total amount raised in our tax assessment last year,” Glover said. “That’s why it was considered part of last year’s budget.”

Kurtz said Glover was wrong. “It’s not a flat line budget. It’s a $50,000 increase.”

“I’m sorry that you still don’t understand it,” Glover told Kurtz.

Selectman Lloyd “Skip” Herrick agreed with Glover. He said voters understood that the money for per diem firefighter wages would be added to the total budget.

“We can have the conversation of flat lining, stabilizing the budget this year for last year, but we cannot lose sight of what the people voted for, and that was to add those dollars to be appropriated, no matter where they came from,” Herrick said.

“You’re losing sight, Ted, of the word “flat lining” versus what the people voted for last year. The people voted for what I just described, and what Ray described,” he said.

Kurtz said that Tarr had previously submitted the lower figure from before the special town meeting. “Phil knew he was wrong because he changed the number,” he said.

Herrick again said that Kurtz was misunderstanding the issue. After a moment of silence, the board moved on to citizen comments.

On April 14, the Budget Committee agreed on a budget of almost $3.4 million, based on Tarr’s figure, which included money budgeted at last year’s special town meeting. The committee will present the budget  at a public hearing at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Paris Town Office.

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