Board lifts winter parking ban early

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RUMFORD — With eight days remaining, selectmen are betting that March won’t live up to its billing as Maine’s snowiest month.

That’s why they voted Thursday during a week of unseasonable 60-degree weather to lift the winter parking ban, two weeks earlier than usual despite Selectman Jeff Sterling’s quipped warning.

“No good weather goes unpunished,” Sterling said.

Town Manager Carlo Puiia said that his office was already receiving telephone complaints from residents wanting to park on the street during the good weather.

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“The Police Department is not ticketing unless there’s a snowstorm, so there is some leniency,” Puiia said.

Normally, the winter parking ban starts with the first snowstorm in November and ends April 1. Selectman Mark Belanger suggested amending the motion to lift the ban on March 18 that should it snow, Puiia can run an electronic message on the town’s board by the armory on Route 2 at the intersection with Lincoln Avenue that the ban would be reinstated.

However, Public Works Superintendent Andy Russell said they could post such a message, but it wouldn’t be enforceable.

Belanger then decided not to amend the motion, which was approved by a 4-0 vote. Selectman Frank DiConzo is on medical leave.

In other business, the board unanimously agreed not to rescind the annual spring cleanup, a service that allows residents to dispose of materials not normally picked up during weekly solid waste collection, by leaving it on the curb in front of their homes or apartments.

Although Public Works doesn’t remove the debris until the last week of April, Russell said some residents had already been putting out material.

“It’s a littering issue,” Russell said of the early curbside deposits.

After learning that it costs from $13,000 to $14,000 to do the cleanup, and another roughly $9,000 in wages, some selectmen wanted to halt the practice.

“It would not be a wise move to say ‘No,’ now,” Selectman Sterling said, and the board agreed, but may consider doing it every other year at a future board meeting.

Puiia also advised selectmen that Rumford will receive less excise tax revenue this year.

“This is statewide because new cars are not selling,” he said.

This year, Puiia said he’s expecting $396,000 in excise tax revenues, which is down from the $435,000 Rumford got in 2005-06.

“The mill with its interruptions really affects that,” Puiia said of the NewPage Corp. operation and its layoff spurts due to the recession. “But, if people are replacing their Toyotas and buying new cars, it could increase.”

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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