PARIS — A proposed contract between the town and Oxford County for police patrol services was finalized by selectmen Monday night.

The most recent revision removed a school resource officer for SAD 17 at the request of the SAD 17 board of directors. Town Manager Amy Bernard told selectmen Monday that school directors said they wanted an escape clause if Paris residents chose county coverage. That way, the school district could negotiate directly with a police agency for a school resource officer rather than use Paris as an intermediary between the school and the Sheriff’s Office, she said.

The contract, which Paris residents will have a chance to vote on in June, would cost the town $548,159 for the first year, including start-up costs and $428,077 for the second year. That includes five deputies, vehicles, clothing and radios.

The recommended budget for the Paris Police Department, if residents vote to keep it, is $591,392.

At Monday’s meeting, several asked why the Sheriff’s Office figure had dropped but the Paris police budget had stayed the same. Kathy Richardson said the differing budgets created an “uneven playing field.”

She questioned whether there were changes that could be made to the police department budget that could make the option more competitive.

“I don’t believe all Paris citizens will vote with their pocketbooks, but some will,” she said. “I’m not saying that’s bad, but some won’t and some will.”

Selectman Robert Wessels said later that he understood the request but said the town may already be underfunding the Police Department with the current recommendation. “We’ve never been given the impression that we’re overfunding the Police Department,” he said.

Vice Chairman Robert Kirchherr agreed. He said the Police Department had been “significantly underfunded” for years. “This probably is an adequate budget, but not the budget that might give us all the resources we need in order to have a high-quality department.”

The board will hold a public hearing on the options of voting for Oxford County Sheriff’s Office or Paris Police Department coverage at 7 p.m. Monday, May 20, at the Paris Fire Station.

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