WEST PARIS — Residents are being asked to provide an emergency infusion of cash to the depleted fire department account during a special town meeting next month.

At the Sept. 26 meeting, residents will also vote on appropriating money to repair the town’s baseball field and replace the old fire station roof. A new changeable sign ordinance is also on the town meeting warrant for voters’ consideration.

In March, voters approved $70,142 for fire department operations. By last Thursday, available funds dwindled to $7,385 — a tenth of the original budget.

According to Town Manager John White, this year’s fire department budget was  was cut “to the bone” in an effort to prevent a tax increase. Selectmen are now asking for a $13,000 injection of cash from the town’s general fund to keep the department afloat through the end of the year.

On Friday, West Paris fire Chief Norm St. Pierre said that the department faced a unexpectedly high number of large fires over the summer. There were three in the past week alone, including the fire at West Paris Metals.

A high call volume, combined with a bare-bones operating budget and aging vehicles that consistently need repairs has driven the department over budget in a number of areas, including wages, St. Pierre said.


“You can’t tell what will happen,” St. Pierre said. “I put things in the budget, and it might seem a little high — but it only takes one event to eat it all up.”

Voters will also be asked to appropriate $5,000 from the recreation fund balance to repair Perham Field, the town’s baseball diamond that was heavily damaged in  flooding earlier this summer.

A $4,000 appropriation to replace the roof on the old fire station and a $700 appropriation to paint existing metal roofs on the station and the old highway garage will also be voted on.

An ordinance to allow the placement of digital signs in town is also being presented for voter approval. According to White, without the ordinance, the town will need to use the state’s older regulations.

A public hearing on the new ordinance will be held on Sept. 12 at 5 p.m., White said. A budget committee meeting to go over the financial articles will be held the same evening at 6 p.m.

The special town meeting is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 26 at 5 p.m. at the Town Office.


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