WEST PARIS — Voters unanimously rejected at Saturday’s annual Town Meeting a proposal to allow ATVs to travel on the roads for five months during the summer and fall.

Town Manager Joy Downing said she was approached last year by the Trap Corner Ridge Riders seeking permission to operate their ATVs on town roads. The Select Board thought it was best to let residents decide the issue at a town meeting, said board Chairman Jim Eli White.

The warrant article Saturday proposed to make all town roads accessible to ATVs from June 1 through Nov. 1 each year when the ATV trails are open.

While a few of the 49 voters in attendance at Ring McKeen American Legion Post 151 thought the ATV group only wanted access to roads to travel from one trail to another, most pointed out that the wording of the article did not make that distinction.

One resident called it a “big can of worms” and was concerned with potential liability issues in the event of a crash on town roads. She urged the town to proceed with caution.

Another said young teens without driver’s licenses would be permitted to drive ATVs on local roads if the article passed as written.


“This needs to be rewritten to protect everyone,” said another resident.

No one from the ATV riding group was at the meeting. With support waning, residents unanimously rejected the proposal.

West Paris voters took a little more than two hours to vote on 44 articles as Woodstock Town Manager Vern Maxfield served as moderator once again and kept things on track. Residents overwhelmingly approved the $1.36 million municipal budget with only minor changes.

Residents approved an additional $700 for the municipal building to reflect increasing heating prices. Voters also approved $350 instead of $700 for expenses by the Planning Board and Appeals Board. Planning Board Chairman Steven McCann supported the lower amount, saying $700 wasn’t necessary considering the few times it meets during the year.

Residents agreed to establish a new capital equipment reserve account to purchase a new fire engine, and placed $60,000 into the account.

The new budget increases spending by approximately 2% over the current year’s municipal budget.

It took three ballots to elect Veronica Poland as a director for School Administration District 17. Poland defeated Ellen Gibson and Dara Kimball. Needing one more than 50%, or 26 votes, Poland had 22 votes on the first ballot, with Gibson 17 and Kimball 10. The second ballot left Poland one vote shy with 25 votes, followed by Gibson with 15 and Kimball with 9. After Kimball dropped out, Poland won on the third ballot, 31-16.

White was reelected to the Select Board and Benjamin Leonard was elected to the water district. White and Leonard both ran unopposed.

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