PARIS — Still upset that neighboring Norway did not agree to a $20,000 budget increase requested last year by Norway Paris Solid Waste, the town of Paris is considering legal measures if the two sides again fail to agree on a budget number at next month’s respective town meetings.

The two communities have an agreement to equally share costs for the facility, but last year, Paris voters agreed to the $20,000 increase asked for by the solid waste board for a total of $282,000. Norway voters accepted the recommendation by their Select Board and Budget Committee and rejected the increase and flat funded the facility at $262,000.

Norway Paris Solid Waste has asked each town for $292,000 for the 2022-23 fiscal year, Paris Town Manager Dawn Noyes said.

At Monday’s Select Board meeting, Selectman Peter Kilgore asked what would happen if Norway again voted for a lower figure.

“You will have Norway Paris Solid Waste offering less for services because they can’t provide what they don’t have money for,” Chairman Christopher Summers said. “The other option, which is available to us, is that we have entered into a contract with Norway in regard to 50-50. If we’re paying our 50(%) and they’re not paying their 50(%), then legally speaking, we need to be talking to an attorney.”

Noyes said that possibility is being explored.

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“One does not relish the thought of going toward that type of measure with a neighbor, but somehow there needs to be a reconciling,” he added.

In its recommendation to reject the increase last year, Norway cited the lack of detail and transparency in explaining the reason for the increase, which included an increase in payroll and projected increase in disposal costs. No one from Norway Paris Solid Waste attended a Norway meeting to discuss the higher request during their budget process.

During last year’s deliberations, Norway Town Manager Dennis Lajoie had said if the two towns approve different amounts, the lower figure will be the budgeted amount. However, Paris still funded the full $282,000 last year.

“I think we need to take a pretty firm stand,” Selectman Scott McElravy said. “I don’t think it’s fair if we’re going to do an agreement with another town and they’re not holding it up. It’s just not right for our people to foot the bill so somebody else can throw away peanut butter jars.”

In other business, selectmen approved spending $1,399.20 to purchase a set of security cameras for Moore Park, which has been the site of vandalism during the past year. U.S. Cellular will provide the cameras, which are popular with people who own camps. The cost, which is less than half of an earlier estimate, will be paid with American Rescue Plan Act funds.

With all the uncertainty with the economy and energy prices, Noyes said the town’s tax rate could increase by 40 to 50 cents. Helping the town, Noyes and Summers noted, is an anticipated decrease in Paris’ share of the school budget and an expected increase in state revenue.

“You hope for the best,” Noyes said. “You still get services to everybody that needs it and get things done. I feel good about it based on my budgetary knowledge and working with the board and the department heads, plus general knowledge on what is going on out there. I feel good about our numbers except for gas, oil and electricity. I’m kind of nervous about that.”

The board approved sending an update to the Building Code Ordinance to voters at next month’s town meeting, but postponed action on an updated Property Maintenance Ordinance. McElravy said he was reluctant to vote on it until he could study it more.

“I hate the idea that I should be able to dictate what my neighbor has in their dooryard,” he said.


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