WEST PARIS — Voters in this Oxford County town needed less than two hours to roll through 43 articles with only a smattering of opposition Saturday morning during the Town Meeting held at the Fire Station.

A little more than 50 people attended the annual affair, adopting the $1.3 million municipal budget and electing three residents to represent the town on various boards. The approved municipal budget was approximately $4,000 less than last year. Approved town accounts ranged from $373,640 for the Highway Department to $400 for a drag for the ballfield.

Jennifer Billings was elected to a three-year term on the board of selectmen. Billings replaces Chairman Michael Grass, who is stepping down after serving for six years.

Ken Haskins will serve for three years on the Water District, while Natalie Andrews was reelected to another three-year term on the Maine School Administration District 17 School Board. All three were unopposed.

Woodstock Town Manager Vern Maxfield once again served as moderator for the meeting.

Residents approved allowing the select board to negotiate with ND Paper of Rumford for permission to lease a portion of the town’s gravel pit on Route 26 for log storage. With logs expected to be stored in a section near a stream, retiring Town Manager Wade Rainey urged the town to make sure residents could still gain access to the water, which Rainey said offers good fishing.

The town also approved spending $3,250 out of the Building Reserve Account to replace the security cameras at the town office and garage. In response to a question, Rainey said the new system should allow the town to expand the area recorded by the new camera system.

Residents overruled the selectmen and Budget Committee and approved the Fire Department’s full budget request of $100,000. The two boards had recommended a budget of $98,082, eliminating one of the three requested sets of turnout gear that Fire Chief Troy Billings had hoped to replace. Residents were in no mood to see any cuts to the department.

“The first job of government is to protect the people and that’s what the fire department does,” said one resident.

The $100,000 request passed with no opposition.

Voters had three options to choose from regarding funding requests from six nonprofit agencies: Androscoggin Home Health, Community Concepts, Seniors Plus, Sexual Assault Prevention, Tri-County Mental Health and Safe Voices. The agencies had requested $500 each, except Community Concepts, which asked for $1,750. The selectmen suggested giving all six agencies $500 apiece. The Budget Committee had proposed $250 each. Residents agreed on the $250 amount for each, for a total of $1,500.

At the conclusion of the meeting, one resident stood up and pleaded with everyone to slow down and not drive 50 mph through West Paris village.


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