The Oxford County Emergency Management Agency will move into this house on Western Promenade in Paris from the brick building in the background. Renovations include upgrading the electrical system, replacing flooring and painting interior walls. Judith Meyer/Sun Journal

PARIS — The Oxford County Emergency Management Agency will soon move into a building, separate from the county building.

The agency is currently headquartered in the musty and cramped basement of the county building, a place that has flooded several times over the years and which now features exposed piping and ductwork installed when the county building was renovated. The agency will move to a small house on Western Promenade, kitty-cornered to the back of the county building.

County Administrator Donald Durrah and Oxford County EMA Director Allyson Hill recently presented the plan to move the agency to the Planning Board.

During Tuesday’s county commission meeting, Durrah said the Planning Board voted unanimously to approve the project, without the need for a site visit or public hearing.

Once the permit is issued, he said, “We’re ready to go.”

Hill said the renovations would be minor, replacing flooring and painting interior walls. Durrah said an electrical upgrade is also needed, the cost for all of which is in the current budget.


According to Hill, all the county’s ham radio equipment will also be moved to the new building as soon as renovations are complete.

Commissioner Steven Merrill of Norway asked Durrah if any of the renovation work could be done by trusties from the Oxford County Jail.

Durrah said he spoke with Sheriff Christopher Wainwright about that possibility and will check with him to see if they can match skill sets from the jail population.

Hill said the EMA staff is looking forward to having a better workspace.

Also on Tuesday, Tony Carter, supervisor of the county’s unorganized territories and the Oxford County Regional Airport in Oxford, reported that his crew has completed ditching along Meadowbrook Road in Mason Township and recommended that stretch be paved, along with a stretch of Tyler Road. Both projects are in the county’s capital plan.

He made several recommendations for maintenance and paving other county roads, including tree maintenance along a section of Patte Brook Road in Albany Township.


Merrill mentioned he’d recently come upon a vehicle that had pulled over on Hunt’s Corner Road in Albany Township and asked whether that vehicle had damaged the fresh pavement there.

According to Carter, the front wheel came off the driver’s side and the driver continued on, damaging the pavement and taking out 85 feet of guardrail. Carter estimated it would cost the county $5,000 to replace the guardrail.

Merrill asked if any the driver’s insurance might help with that cost.

Carter said the driver attempted to remove the damaged vehicle before a Sheriff’s Office responded, and when he called the driver’s insurance company three weeks ago the driver hadn’t yet reported the accident.

Carter told commissioners he was going to keep contacting the driver’s insurance company to seek payment, and recommended that the county stripe Hunt’s Corner Road. “We’ve had three serious accidents there in the last six months, and on a rainy day it’s hard to visualize the roads. It is windy and it should be striped.”

Commissioners agreed.


Carter also mentioned he’d reached out to some residents in Albany Township who live near and around Wardwell Road and Sawin Hill Road about opening those roads up to ATV traffic. He said he’s also talked with ATV club members and encouraged them to police the new trails. He said the club had put up speed limit signs along the trails, and invested in some trail maintenance.

Carter said he hoped the club would stay on top of that because so many trails have been shut down by landowners because of abuse, so he’s going to continue to monitor the use there.


Durrah reported that the work to outfit the commission’s meeting room with cameras, speakers and microphones to enhance public access was in progress. Also, updating internet service throughout the county building is nearly done, making it possible for people to have internet access throughout the building.

Chief Deputy James Urquhart asked commissioners to possibly consider enhancing the mileage reimbursement rate for county employees who are facing higher costs for gas.

Before commissioners could respond, Oxford County Executive Assistant Abby Shanor said the decision had already been made to match the federal mileage reimbursement rate, which is going to 62.6 cents per mile starting July 1.


On Tuesday, the price per gallon for regular unleaded was $5.30 at the Shell station on Main Street in Paris.

Following a brief meeting with Cpl. Richard Murray and his union representative about a grievance Murray had filed, commissioners voted unanimously to uphold the sheriff’s decision to promote a corporal other than Murray to the position of sergeant.

Lastly, commissioners moved to hire two part-time deputies, Michael St. Laurent and Reece Rodrique.

St. Laurent is a graduate of Central Maine Community College and Rodrique is a graduate of Husson University. According to the sheriff, Rodrique was just commissioned as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve and will be back in Oxford County in three months. Ideally, Urquhart said, St. Laurent and Rodrique will both attend the Criminal Justice Academy for the session starting in January 2023.

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