PARIS — The Board of Selectmen postponed a decision Monday on a permit for an automobile recycling business until more research is done on the potential effect to the underground water supply.
Scott Atkinson, owner of Affordable Auto Repair at 284 Park St., asked for the permit so he could disassemble vehicles and store some on the back of his property, Chairman Rusty Brackett said.
While those vehicles would not be visible from the road and would likely be 1,100 yards from the Little Androscoggin River, selectmen and Penny Lowe from the Paris Utility District expressed concern that the vehicles would lie on the aquifer, the underground water supply, and near a couple of wellheads.
He stressed this would not be a junkyard.
Lowe said she just learned about the application Monday afternoon and had not had an opportunity to review the plans or conduct a site review.
Town Code Enforcement Officer Kingston Brown spoke in favor of granting the permit.
While not wanting to impede a town business, Brackett and Selectmen Scott McElravy and Christopher Summers thought the application was being rushed through.
“I don’t know if this is the time to say yea or nay,” Brackett said. “But I don’t want to force him out of business.
“This warrants more investigation before we move forward,” Summers said.
A couple of residents and a property owner expressed concern about the effect the recycling business could have on the drinking water if gas, oil, mercury and battery acid leaked into the aquifer.
The board unanimously tabled action on the permit until Town Manager Dawn Noyes can meet with Brown and Lowe to discuss the application, check the paperwork filed with the state and see if a site review of the property is prudent.
In other business, the board agreed to spend money for a new police vehicle, following a recent accident when a bucket loader ran a red light and demolished a police cruiser. The board agreed to spend roughly $26,000 for a new Dodge Ram Tradesman pickup truck. Chief of Police Michael Dailey said the vehicle would be used for administration and would not have to be outfitted for patrol. Dailey said that was a better option than buying a used vehicle.
Part of the funds to pay for the vehicle would come from the insurance settlement of $14,500 from the totaled cruiser.
The board approved a fundraiser for the Paris Fire Department for this weekend Saturday and Sunday. Firefighters will collect donations in front of the post office from 6 to 10 a.m. Saturday and from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Noyes said she has heard much praise from residents for the highway department’s plowing this winter.
The board reviewed the proposed 2021-22 administration budget, which is 3% lower, or $16,944 less, than the current budget. The reason for the decrease is the town is outsourcing the full-time assessor position instead of hiring its own.