Paris Board of Selectmen

Paris Town Office

July 10, 2017

Fire Department

What happened: Selectmen discussed ongoing union negotiations in executive session, while during open session some residents expressed frustration regarding the process in cutting $145,000 from the Fire Department budget at the June annual town meeting.

What it means: Budget Committee member Richard Merz asked board Chairman Scott Buffington to provide a number of Paris residents who cannot afford their taxes, which is one of the reasons Buffington supported cutting the budget proposal. Buffington said he did not have a specific number, but pointed Merz to the state’s website to look at statistics. Merz and fellow Budget Committee member Mike Brogan wanted there to be more discussion before the cuts happened.

What’s next: Merz is circulating a petition to hold a special town meeting to restore funding to the department and will present it to selectmen once he’s gathered enough signatures.

Avesta Housing

What happened: Selectmen authorized Town Manager Vic Hodgkins to sign the sale agreement, on their behalf, with Avesta Housing for the former Mildred M. Fox School building.

What it means: In August 2016, Avesta Housing agreed to purchase the three-story brick building at 10 E. Main St. for $125,000 and transform it into low-income senior housing.

What’s next: Avesta is working out a few wrinkles at the state level, but Hodgkins said it should be able to sign the agreement near the end of August or September.

Fire Station roof

What happened: Selectmen tabled the project to fix the leaky fire station roof until more estimates come in.

What it means: Over the winter, the roof leaked and the town had repairs made to the membrane and around the drain areas for roughly $1,200. Several weeks ago, the roof began leaking again because of rain.

What’s next: Hodgkins already has one estimate and will receive two more by the end of this week. Selectmen will address the project at their next meeting.

Town slogan

What happened: Selectmen tabled adopting a new town slogan, which was recommended by the Economic Development Committee, to get more input from residents.

What it means: The proposed slogan for Paris is “Heartbeat of the Hills,” which was created by a local business owner. Committee vice chairman and Selectman Gary Vaughn wanted residents to vote on whether they like the slogan.

What’s next: In the next week or so, a poll will be shared on the town’s website, Facebook page and e-blast.

Events

What happened: Selectmen created an ad hoc subcommittee for the Economic Development Committee to guide events and festivals in town.

What it means: Committee Chairman and Selectman John Andrews said there are five people interested in serving on the subcommittee.

What’s next: Buffington suggested subcommittee members reach out to Aranka Matolcsy who organizes the annual Moore Park Art Show.

Car sale

What happened: Selectmen agreed to put the 2010 Crown Victoria police cruiser out to bid.

What it means: Because of rust and faulty wiring, the vehicle will not pass inspection. The town will sell it “as is, where is,” according to Police Chief Hartley “Skip” Mowatt.

What’s next: The lights and sirens will be stripped and used on future police vehicles. 

Background policy

What happened: Selectmen approved the town’s new background check policy for hires and for committee and board appointments.

What it means: The town did not have a policy regarding the background checks, only that they were conducted for employees and board and committee members. The policy explains why a background check is needed and the results are highly confidential and only shared with individuals “who have a direct ‘need to know.’” It also allows the town manager and department heads to use their discretion when hiring an employee.

Appointment

What happened: Selectmen appointed Michael Dignan to the School Administrative District 17 board of directors for a four-month term.

What it means: Dignan will fill the remainder of Cecil Dietrich’s term. Since her husband is paid by the school district, she can no longer serve on the board.

What’s next: A school board member will be elected in November for a three-year term. 

New committee

What happened: Selectmen formed the ad hoc Town Office Building Committee.

What it means: Hodgkins, Town Clerk Liz Knox, Board of Selectmen Vice Chairman Chris Summers, Dick Penley and Brogan will sit on the committee. They will come up with ideas to fix up the exterior of the Town Office, along with replacing the aging carpet.

What’s next: The goal is to figure out a game plan over the winter and address the projects next spring and summer.

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