West Paris Library Director Brenda Lynn Gould shows off a pair of solar eclipse glasses Saturday at the West Paris annual Town Meeting. She has free glasses available for town citizens at the library. Gould also spoke about the Community Concepts Tech Knowledge event for the April 8 solar eclipse. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

WEST PARIS — Voters approved the $1.7 million budget and nearly all 46 warrant articles, including a site plan review ordinance, during the annual Town Meeting on Saturday morning.

Incumbent Shawn Boutilier was elected for a three-year term as selectman, Donna Marshall for a three-year term as director of School Administrative District 17 and Bill Grover to a one-year term as a water district trustee. A three-year term on the water district board went unfilled.

Voters approved $896,500 in various funds to reduce tax commitment: $300,000 in state revenue sharing, $117,205 in homestead reimbursement, $300,000 in motor vehicle excise tax, $29,000 in other revenues and $150,295 from the town’s undesignated fund balance.

The most contentious item, to adopt a site plan review ordinance — the first of its kind in West Paris — passed after some debate. The ordinance, voted down in the past, was not vetted by an attorney or by Code Enforcement Officer Kingston Brown. Attendees noted Brown was asked to appear at several Planning Board meetings regarding the ordinance, but did not attend them.

The ordinance does not apply to residential or agricultural construction, but does impose a site plan review of new or substantial expansions or changes in use for commercial, retail, industrial, institutional, public and recreational structures or accessory uses or structures.

While many residents expressed reluctance to pass an unreviewed ordinance, they wanted something on the books considering the uncertainty of the Agnes Grey School. The proposed ordinance noted a future special town meeting could help flesh details out if recommended by the planning or select boards.


Another item of debate which passed by a thin margin was whether to appropriate $1,000 for four nonprofits: Seniors Plus, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Services, Tri-County Mental Health and Safe Voices.

Selectman Wade Rainey said none of the nonprofits lobbied for the customary $250, but Oxford County already appropriated $15,000 to nonprofits this year. Rainey is also a County Budget Committee member.

Other items passed included an 8.5% annual interest rate on taxes not paid by Nov. 15, 2024; an 8.5% interest rate to be paid by the town on abated taxes; and a 3% discount on real estate and personal property taxes if paid within 30 days of commitment.

Voters rejected an increase to the property tax levy limit, a redundant item made necessary for towns to vote on when taxes exceed the limit set forth by the state.

Representatives for the West Paris Library also announced that the library will host a Community Concepts Tech Knowledge event for the April 8 solar eclipse. Eclipse glasses will be provided at the event.

West Paris resident and former Advertiser Democrat staff writer Adam Brown contributed to this report.

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