Board to consider resolution to end unfair foreign paper trade practices

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RUMFORD — At Thursday night’s board meeting, selectmen will be asked to endorse a congressional resolution asking the International Trade Commission to ensure that American businesses and workers are no longer forced to compete against foreign business on an uneven playing field.

The resolution follows November 2009 letters from Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe to ITC Secretary Marilyn R. Abbott, supporting efforts by Rumford paper mill NewPage Corp. and Sappi Fine Paper in Westbrook related to coated printing paper from China and Indonesia.

Due to unfair pricing and large government subsidies to paper producers in China and Indonesia, Snowe and Collins wrote that New Page has been forced to lay off workers and idle some of its paper machines.

Selectmen will also discuss and approve non-union personnel wages for 2010-11 and a revised personnel policy. They will also listen to a presentation about coated-paper trade issues by Daniel Lawson of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

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At last month’s board meeting, selectmen discussed possibly giving non-union town employees a raise before tabling the issue.

Selectman Mark Belanger suggested setting a monetary amount, whereas Town Manager Carlo Puiia and Selectman Jeff Sterling suggested a percentage raise.

The board is also expected to approve both a St. Patrick’s Day Parade permit for Le Paresseux Club and Texas hold ’em poker tournaments at the Sons of Italy social club.

In other business, selectmen will hold public hearings at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 10, and Thursday, March 11, on proposed department budget requests.

Additional public hearings will be held on initiated article requests at 6 p.m. on Monday, March 15, and Monday, March 22. Then, on Tuesday, March 23, selectmen will convene a workshop to discuss the budget, before holding yet another public hearing to approve department budgets and initiated article requests at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 25.

The Finance Committee then begins its work on the budget in April.

All meetings will be held in the Rumford Falls Auditorium.

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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