Rumford board plows into snow removal, deposit complaints

Terry Karkos/Sun Journal

Rumford Board of Selectmen Chairman Greg Buccina on Thursday listens to Town Manager Carlo Puiia suggest the board consider an ordinance to regulate all-terrain vehicles.

RUMFORD — Snowplowing and shoveling issues came before selectmen Thursday night after a resident complained of problems he's having with a business.

During the citizens' requests segment, Don Boucher of 65 Essex Ave. sought the board's help to curb what he called the illegal plowing practices of Ralph's Store on Cumberland Street.

Boucher said Rumford has laws preventing property and business owners from plowing or shoveling snow onto another's property or in the roadway and sidewalks.

He said police are not enforcing the law and suggested that the board have police begin doing so, starting with his issues. Boucher also said he wants a larger fine on businesses found guilty of breaking the law by plowing snow onto a neighbor's property.

He said he confronted the person who was plowing for Ralph's Store and was assaulted.

Board Chairman Greg Buccina asked Town Manager Carlo Puiia to have police Chief Stacy Carter address Boucher's complaints.

Buccina urged residents and business owners to think of their neighbors when removing snow from yards and business lots.

Selectman Jolene Lovejoy continued the discussion.

She said she drove around town earlier Thursday to familiarize herself with areas where people are violating the town's snow ordinance and saw plenty of evidence.

She said people are plowing so much snow onto sidewalks that the town's lone sidewalk plow cannot handle it, forcing people to walk on the streets in traffic.

"You're doing yourself and your neighbor a disservice every time you do this and to all of us who are not going to want to use the sidewalks when we need to use them, so shame on you if you're somebody that's doing it," she said.

Puiia also took issue with the matter.

"We had two nights of storms, and then on that third night, we had that big rainstorm, if you remember," he said. "And if anybody had it in their driveway and didn't clean it up, you know what happens — it turns to ice.

"And much like Mrs. Lovejoy referred to, these piles of snow became ice mountains, so the sidewalk plow cannot get through," Puiia said.

He said Rumford has one sidewalk plow and miles of sidewalks, "so your area might not immediately be cleaned. They're doing the best they can."

Starting at midnight during the first of next week, the town crew will start catching up with snow removal, Puiia said.

During Christmas and New Year's vacations, more storms dumped snow and rain on Rumford, complicating town plowing and snow removal, he said.

"These men were working late hours and long hours during the holidays and they deserve a break so they can remain alert, so we wanted them to have a holiday," Puiia said.

"We're doing the best we can. It's never going to be perfect. This is a perennial problem. We all seem to forget that between April and the following December how much snow we get."

He said the last three years of light snowfall were exceptions.

"With snow removal, you're not supposed to block any sidewalks or deposit any snow in the road," Puiia said.

"Now the town has an ordinance, but they've always been flexible, meaning that they allowed snow to be deposited on the edge of the road, provided it does not protrude into the passing lane or into the travel lane or the sidewalk or another's land.

"If we try to revert back to a 'No Tolerance' policy, that means that for any citizen or any business, we will be putting a financial burden on them to have them haul snow somewhere to be deposited."

He said he doesn't believe there is any perfect solution, but wants to prevent "snow rage" incidents.

"We've already seen it last week when two people were fatally wounded," Puiia said.

He was referring to the killings on Dec. 29 of Biddeford tenants Derrick Thompson, 19, and his 18-year-old girlfriend, Alivia Welch, in a dispute with their landlord over snow removal and parking.

"People have to learn to work with one another with snow removal," Puiia said.

He said snow removal and plowing priorities will again be discussed with Public Works Superintendent Andy Russell at the board's next meeting.

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Snow removel and plowing priorities

Mr. Puiia we all know what the problem is. We never had them before until they were changed by the same person you want to discuss them with. Keep giving this person the feeling of running the town. It just gets worse. And as far as the police doing their share, Well there is a parking ordinance during storms and they arn't following it. They should be getting these cars towed to allow proper plowing. Plenty of changes are needed but this board doesn't want to make them. Make department heads do their jobs properly and maybe problems wouldn't arise.

Tony Capola's picture

Snow Removal

Frank: Will you ever learn that it services no purpose to engage in personal attacks? Everyone naturely turns a deaf-ear to those that can only complain by verbally abusing those in authority. I have been troubled by the conditions at the Highway Department but it is clear that public attacks service no real constructive results. Every complaint should be accompanied by reasonable suggestions for consideration. Jumping up and down and screaming insults has gotten you no where. When was the las time anyone took what you have to say on any given matter seriously?


He ,who never showed up at DD for a conversation. Sorry to say that I have given suggestions and they have fallen on deaf ears. Authority doesn't believe in common sense resolutions. What I comment on does not go unheard. Only people like you, who are unhappy or maybe you are happy with what is taking place in Rumford never speak on either. I was born in this town. Brought up in this town. Moved away and then moved back. When you live away you can see deterioration where you once lived each time you come home. There were people in office back when whose soul job was to protect the mill from other companies coming to Rumford. So the sign ,not open for business, was establish many years ago and it continues today. Changes must take place or Rumford will meet its final damnation. It has to clean house. Maybe you live comfortable and can afford paying more each year. Maybe that's why you don't speak up. The towns population does not warrant what is taking place in this economy. Over spending, misuse of power by scaring people into saying yes at the polls. You can be critical of me all you want but you should be critical along with me with what is taking place in Rumford. Again, thanks for not showing up at DD for coffee and conversation.


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