What you need to know: Paris Board of Selectmen

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Paris Board of Selectmen

Feb. 26, 2018

Paris Town Office

 

Budget

What happened: Town Manager Vic Hodgkins told selectmen he was concerned about the current Fire Department expenditures going over budget. He also noted that the General Assistance budget is currently over budget by roughly $3,200.

What it means: Hodgkins noted equipment breakdowns and payroll in the Fire Department could push it over budget. At the June 2017 town meeting, voters cut the $384,640 Fire Department budget by $145,629, reducing it to $239,011. For the current fiscal year, the town has paid roughly $57,668 in attorney fees, which includes fire department union negotiations. For General Assistance, which is either fully or partially reimbursed by the state, the town is covering things it hasn’t in the recent past, including rent, heat, groceries and a couple of cremations.

What’s next: Hodgkins directed General Assistance Administrator Shannon Moxcey to do an analysis and projection on GA funds needed for the upcoming budget. Hodgkins will have a better idea and give an update at the end of March or early April about the state of the Fire Department’s budget.

School budget 

What happened: SAD 17 Superintendent Rick Colpitts and the town’s three SAD 17 directors gave an overview of the district’s budget process and answered some questions.

What it means: Directors Bob Jewell, Mike Dignan and Henry Raymond attended the meeting after receiving a certified letter from the selectboard inviting them to a meeting to discuss the district’s budgeting process. Jewell said he felt there might have been mistrust regarding how money is being spent from the wording of the letter and Selectman Scott Buffington explained he wanted to learn about the district’s budget process. Colpitts is working on completing his budget and the district’s Budget Committee meets for the first time this week.

What’s next: Colpitts will return to the Paris Board of Selectmen to present his proposed budget once details are hammered out.

Catch basin bond

What happened: Selectmen approved an 11-year bond with the Maine Municipal Bond Bank to pay for the catch basin removal project.

What it means: The project, which when complete will remove 22 catch basins from the sewer system so the Paris Utility District (PUD) no longer unnecessarily treats stormwater, came in nearly $300,000 under budget. The 11-year bond is for $473,468, with payments averaging around $42,800 a year. In early 2015, the state Department of Environmental Protection mandated the PUD stop treating excess stormwater by 2019 or face fines. In late 2016, voters at a special town meeting approved the town borrowing up to $737,000 for the project, in addition to $64,000 for engineering.

What’s next: The money the town currently pays the PUD roughly $45,000 a year to treat the stormwater and will shift over to pay back the bond. The goal is to have the street work of the project completed by mid-May.

Refund

What happened: Hodgkins announced the town received a worker’s compensation refund.

What it means: The refund was for $11,900 and came as a result of the completed payroll audit ordered by Maine Municipal Association. One payment was higher than needed, which was refunded to the town.

Fairview Cemetery

What happened: Hodgkins announced the town received the second payment from the Fairview Cemetery Association Trust.

What it means: The payment was for $49,500. Last year, voters at town meeting agreed to accept the Fairfield Cemetery and its assets from the trust and become responsible for maintenance of the cemetery. The money is sitting in a dedicated account for the cemetery.

What’s next: The third and final check from the trust will be sent to the town in 2019.

Fund Balance

What happened: Hodgkins told selectmen the town has a “high-quality problem” because there is $570,854 in the undesignated Fund Balance.

What it means: Selectmen tabled the issue and decided to discuss the matter further at their next selectmen’s meeting. Hodgkins recommended using $217,000 of the total, as was done last year, to offset taxes and set aside the rest for capital improvements and/or in contingency.

What’s next: Hodgkins will update his five-year capital improvement plan and share it with selectmen at the next meeting. The money’s use must be approved by voters at a town meeting.

Streetlights

What happened: Selectmen directed Hodgkins to write a letter of intent to RealTerm Energy informing the company the town wants to move forward with an LED streetlight project.

What it means: Paris officials, in conjunction with Norway and Oxford officials, are exploring switching their streetlights over to LEDs to save energy and money. Officials from these towns are reaching out to other neighboring town officials to see if they’d want to join in on the project.

What’s next: Hodgkins will pen the letter informing the company of the town’s interest in the project.

School director

What happened: Selectmen appointed Sarah Otterson to the SAD 17 Board of Directors.

What it means: Otterson retired in 2016 and taught at Hebron Elementary School for 27 years and also taught at Waterford Elementary and Guy E. Rowe Elementary schools, which is one of the reasons SAD 17 Director Mike Dignan recruited her to serve on the school board. Selectboard Chairman Rusty Brackett asked her if she would just be a yes vote for whatever the district requests and she answered, “You can rest assured I have the taxpayers in this town in the back of my mind.”

What’s next: She will serve until the June election and choose whether or not she will run to finish the remaining two years of the seat, which ends in 2020. It was the seat vacated by Cecil Dietrich.

Nomination papers

What happened: Town Clerk Liz Knox announced nomination papers are available on Friday, March 2.

What it means: Selectboard Chairman Rusty Brackett’s term is up, the terms for Brad Frost and Darren Boyce are up for the Paris Utility District and Mike Dignan and Sarah Outterson’s seats will be available for SAD 17 directors.

What’s next: The papers are due April 13, which is earlier than normal, due to the state statute changing and requiring nomination papers due 60 days before the election.

Team Hailey

What happened: Selectmen voted to support a proclamation for “Going Gold” in September for Team Hailey Hugs.

What it means: The proclamation is for Hailey Steward of Bethel, as the young girl lost her battle with cancer last year, to raise awareness about childhood cancer. The nonprofit is trying to get enough signatures and payments to make a vanity license plate available for childhood cancer.

What’s next: Moxcey will put information about the license plate campaign on the town’s website at www.parismaine.org/.

Spirit of America

What happened: Selectmen tabled discussing the Spirit of American award until their next meeting, scheduled for March 12.

Executive session

What happened: Selectmen went into executive session to discuss labor negotiations and did not take any action after returning to open session.