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Fiber Expansion to Include Paris, Maine, Government Offices

Town officials have approved a plan that would run fiber-optic cable for high-speed Internet service to the town office and police department. The use of existing equipment will make the project more cost effective.

(TNS) — With one selectman saying it is time for the town to move into the 21st Century, the Select Board on Monday approved installing fiber-optic cable for high-speed Internet service in the Town Office and Police Department.

Town Manager Dawn Noyes had requested permission at the Feb. 13 meeting to spend $4,400 to equip the office and station with high-speed Internet service. The proposal would replace Spectrum's service with GWI, which runs the town's phone system.

Town officials said GWI would be cheaper, because its equipment is already in the building.

Noyes said she and other employees in the office and the Police Department have complained about spotty service. She said she was especially frustrated recently when she kept getting kicked out of a Zoom meeting and it took about six minutes to regain the connection each time.

Two weeks ago, the board asked her to get bids. She contacted a couple of other providers, but none returned her calls.

With Selectman Michael Bailey saying it was finally time to move into this century, the board unanimously approved the expenditure.

In other business, the board approved the bid to purchase a Western Star plow truck for $149,587. The bid was about $1,000 less than a similar bid for a Mac plow.

Bailey, who had studied the bids, recommended the Mac because he was concerned certain features were missing, because they were not listed in the vehicle specs — such as a coolant filter, an engine brake, a block heater and a tow hook.

Highway Director Jamie Hutchinson, who recommended the Western Star plow truck, said the Western Star the town ordered a couple of years ago came with all of those features and the new plow truck bid had the same package. He added that employees found the truck comfortable to drive and the town would not be required to purchase an additional computer program to service the newer model.

Bailey was convinced and joined his colleagues in approving the purchase.

The board also approved a bid from Spencer Paving Group in Turner for road projects for the year. Spencer's bid was $747,000, $70,000 less than the next bid.

Auditor Ron Smith from the accounting firm RHR Smith & Company of Buxton gave the town a glowing review during his presentation to the board. He said the town's undesignated fund contained more than $2 million, which gives the town at least a 90-day cushion to pay bills if no money comes in.

"That's right where you want to be," Smith said.

The board awarded Joseph Brickel the property at 89 Gary St. for $15,001. He was the high bidder for the half-acre property that was taken by the town for unpaid taxes.

A liquor license renewal was approved for Western Maine Gourmet, which operates Maurice Restaurant at 109 Main St.

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