PARIS — Selectman Walter Perry took some heat this week for a Facebook post where he criticized the town for what he claimed was its lack of response to a solar crosswalk light on Main Street near the high school.

His post thanked the Norway Fire Department for fixing the light.

“Big shout-out to Norway FD for fixing the broken traffic light on the crosswalk on main street,” Perry wrote on his page. “It had been broken since 2019. No action by Paris, even if I raised concerns repeatedly. One selectman said at town meeting when he was a kid, people knew how to cross the street and did not need a light. This has been a location of a number of pedestrian accidents. I just needed to ask the right people for help to make this happen. Thanks again.”

The Norway Fire Department had nothing to do with repairing the light at the crosswalk, Town Manager Dawn Noyes explained. The electrician the town contracted to do the work is a member of that fire department and happened to be wearing his Norway jacket when he fixed the light.

Town Clerk Elizabeth Knox stepped away from her seat at the head table and into the audience to address the board as a resident, saying she viewed it as negativity directed toward the town by Perry.

“As a selectman for Paris, is there a reason why you posted such a negative post?” Knox asked. “I’m pretty sure that the crosswalk light has been discussed multiple times at a Select Board meeting. Have you ever called the town manager or come in and talk to her or emailed her in regard to this issue?”

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“I’m really glad that it’s fixed,” Perry responded.

Board Chairman Christopher Summers echoed Knox’s concerns about taking his complaints to social media.

“In the future, I would recommend that if you have questions of this nature, instead of voicing them on Facebook you talk to Dawn (Noyes), a much more appropriate place,” Summers said.

The crosswalk light has been an ongoing issue, and Noyes has addressed the slow process to repair it at several Select Board meetings. Two replacement batteries needed to be ordered and the electrician had difficulty without IT support, which delayed repairs for weeks, Noyes said.

The batteries cost the town $554.

According to Summers, the lights were never wired properly when it was installed.

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“There was a black and white wire to feed power from the solar panel down into the unit itself,” Summers said. “The electrician at the time saw the white wire coming down and thought neutral. So they plugged it into the neutral bar when it was supposed to go to the batteries because that was how you charged the batteries. So that is believed to have been the culprit.”

OTHER BUSINESS

The board approved a low bid of $54,000 from George R. Roberts Co. of Alfred to construct a box culvert for Parsons Road with money coming from a stream crossing grant from the state. Town officials will unseal bids next week to install the box culvert.

A request by the Fire Department for a boot drive along state Route 26 the weekend of Feb. 19-20 was postponed when Summers questioned the location near the post office, which is a two-lane road. He suggested it be moved along the three-lane section of Main Street near Dollar General and Bessey Motors as a safer locale.

At the request of Selectman Peter Kilgore, the board agreed to move the date of its next meeting from Valentine’s Day to Tuesday, Feb. 15, at 6:30 p.m.


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