No bids received from Rumford abutters on land lots

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RUMFORD — At their regular board meeting Thursday night, selectmen learned that no bids had been received as of Thursday from abutters of three town-owned land properties, executive secretary Terri Palmer said on Friday morning. 

The abutters had received letters soliciting bids from the Town Office.

In other board business, selectmen agreed to begin paying a $300 yearly music copyright fee that the Rumford Performing Arts Committee has been paying for music performances at its Christmas shows in the Rumford Falls Auditorium, Palmer said.

In an email Tuesday to Palmer for selectmen, Jim Rinaldo, chairman of the Performing Arts Committee, said the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers fee was becoming a hardship for the committee.

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The committee has been operating for about six years. In that time, it has held five Christmas shows and entertained more than 1,000 men, women and children, Rinaldo said.

He said the committee has paid for new audio equipment and the installation of outlets in the Fire Station side of the hall and the stage. Members have even paid out of their own pockets to help.

The board also discussed a Nov. 22 letter they received from Virginia neighborhood resident Gayle Sirois, who wants something done about speeding on Prospect Avenue and people plowing snow onto the sidewalks, forcing people to walk in traffic along the streets.

She said she regularly sees cars “zooming by at what I would conservatively guess to be 40-plus mph.”

Five to 8 mph is still speeding, she said.

“I walk these streets daily and the worst part, in my opinion, is the section from the junction of Crescent, Prospect and Front streets down to Sunnyside Terrace, where the poor road condition somewhat slows down the speeders,” Sirois said.

Regarding the sidewalk issue, she said the same people, “year after year, ignore the town ordinance against plowing snow onto the sidewalks.

“From the top of Falls Hill on Prospect onto Crescent, to the end of the sidewalk at 715 Prospect, there are places that even the sidewalk plow can’t get through,” Sirois said. “When the streets become narrowed and icy and the vehicles are going much faster than the speed limit, it makes for a dangerous situation.”

She said it’s only a matter of time before an accident incurring serious injuries happens, unless the issue is quickly addressed.

Selectman Mark Belanger broached the ordinance violations in his board report, asking why the plowing ordinance isn’t being enforced. He said it is a problem at one town church, where a resident is plowing snow up against the building while other residents are plowing snow across the streets and onto the sidewalks.

“We have an ordinance, but it’s not enforced,” Selectmen Chairman Greg Buccina said.

However, Town Manager John Madigan said he had met with police Chief Stacy Carter and Public Works Superintendent Andy Russell and learned that while the town has an ordinance on plowing snow across streets, it is legal as long as they have a permit. What’s illegal is plowing the snow across streets and leaving it on sidewalks or in the streets, Madigan said.

He said Carter has already been getting complaints from residents.

Buccina said he would have the issue added to the next board meeting’s agenda so selectmen can discuss it more in depth and try to get something done to correct the problem.

Fire Chief Bob Chase said it’s also illegal to deposit snow on or around fire hydrants. Chase then said that hydrant-shoveling season is underway and asked people who help the department and water district to clear from 3 to 4 feet of snow from around the hydrants and fire call boxes.

Selectmen also discussed the potential for cost savings by going to a four-day workweek and contracting payroll out to companies that do that work for towns. However, Palmer said they can’t close the Municipal Building to save money on utilities because 11th District Court is housed in the building and must remain open five days a week.

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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