Paris selectmen delay action on new fee schedule

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  • Elizabeth Knox
    New Zealand writer

Dec. 28—PARIS — After hearing concerns from some of its members Monday, the Select Board held off approving a new fee schedule for town permits and licenses.

The town does not have a schedule where all fees charged by the town are listed in one place.

Some fees would increase, said Town Clerk Elizabeth Knox, who developed the schedule, such as one-day catering fees, liquor license upgrades and summer recreation. The increased fees would cover higher administrative costs and prevent those costs from getting passed on to all taxpayers.

When it was suggested that the building fees were too low and that the town should compare its fees with neighboring towns and similar-sized municipalities, Selectman Carlton Sprague strongly disagreed. He wondered why the town would want to increase fees that could hinder development, despite the added costs for inspections.

Selectman Walter Perry wanted to remove the fees charged for each solar panel on a home. The town charges $1 per square foot for solar panels, whether they are for a home or a commercial solar farm.

In other business, selectmen approved spending $4,198.35 from American Rescue Plan Act funds to pay bonuses for the essential employees at the Norway-Paris Solid Waste who have worked throughout the pandemic.

"We have a good staff there and I'd like to make sure we keep them," Selectman Scott McElravy said. "If we can do something to help them, it would be a great idea."

Bruce Hanson from NPSW said the facility serves between 50 to 250 people per day.

While fees are split in half between Paris and Norway, Monday's decision only involves Paris, who had no qualms supporting the request, whether Norway follows suit or not.

"We'll do the right thing, no matter what Norway does," Perry said.

Paris selectmen approved the expenditure unanimously.

A new building ordinance was approved by the board. A public hearing on the ordinance will be scheduled, with a special town meeting expected on the topic in February.

The board approved spending $4,200 from ARPA for Trio Real Estate software. Town Manager Dawn Noyes said the new program will list all property records on the town's website. It would list a home's dimensions, but would not include floor plans or other privacy concerns. She noted that the town of Harrison uses the same program.

Chairman Christopher Summers noted that the information that will be listed online is already considered public information.

Noyes said after the upfront cost, the program would cost $175 per year for maintenance.

The Town Office's new policy of closing every day for 30 minutes for lunch between 12:30 and 1 p.m. goes into effect Monday.

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