Woodstock Town Manager Vern Maxfield moderates the annual town meeting in West Paris on Saturday. Bethel Citizen photo by Samuel Wheeler

WEST PARIS — Voters at the annual town meeting Saturday sharply debated how much they should raise for social service agencies and eventually cut the request by more than half.

An article asked for a total of $4,950 for SeniorsPlus, Community Concepts, Androscoggin Home Healthcare + Hospice, Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Services, and Tri-County Mental Health Services.

However, in a 17-16 vote only $2,450 was approved, the amount recommended by selectmen and the Budget Committee.

Many residents opposed that recommendation, saying they didn’t understand why the town would vote to raise money in some areas but not for programs that benefit people throughout Oxford County.

Selectmen said $4,950 was too much taxpayer money for programs that are not town responsibilities.

“We’re voting to take someone else’s money and support nonprofit programs. It’s not a town program,” one resident said.

Voters did pass an article to raise $13,500 for the baseball/softball program and ball field maintenance.

Some wondered why the cost was so high.

A person who works on the field said the money also goes toward equipment, dues, umpire fees, uniforms and electricity.

Other amounts raised were $95,810 for the Fire Department, $37,760 for the library and $2,800 for cemeteries.

Selectman John Eli White, School Administrative District 17 director Will Rolfe and West Paris Water District trustee Ralph Brown were re-elected to three-year terms.

Woodstock Town Manager Vern Maxfield moderated the meeting at the Agnes Gray School.

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