RUMFORD — The Finance Committee met for six hours on Tuesday night and completed its work to create a new municipal budget recommendation of $7,171,500.
That's a 5 percent cut from its previous recommendation of $7,508,851 in the budget that town meeting referendum voters defeated on June 11. That vote also defeated the Board of Selectmen's initial municipal budget recommendation of $7,521,032.
Last week, selectmen hacked roughly 14 percent off their initial budget to present a second proposed budget of $6,526,077. The Finance Committee's new budget is $645,423 higher than the selectmen's second budget, giving voters a choice.
Committee members on Tuesday night added $169,000 to the contingency fund under Unclassified Accounts, whereas selectmen left it at $15,000.
Town Manager Carlo Puiia explained the changes early Wednesday afternoon, adding that the Finance Committee can only approve a bottom-line figure.
He said the committee's intent was to put $118,000 into contingency to provide enough operations money for the Greater Rumford Community Center to get through the year and another $51,000 for Black Mountain Ski Resort operations.
The GRCC's operating budget of $138,100 was defeated 657-829, and its summer programs funding request of $22,720 was rejected by a tally of 607-845.
Puiia said that based on comments made Tuesday night by GRCC Chairman Gary Dolloff, the $118,000 added to the contingency fund by the Finance Committee would provide the center with enough funding to get through the year. But it would not solve the center's Summer Programs crisis.
Black Mountain's initiated article was defeated 497-939.
Puiia said the intent of the committee's debate was to restore funding to the GRCC and Black Mountain via the contingency account through the bidding process. According to Rumford's Charter, anything over $2,000 must be put out to bid.
It remains unclear just how the center and Black Mountain will try to get that money should voters approve the Finance Committee's budget recommendations next month.
"As I said last night, we're chartering new waters when you get to something of this nature," Puiia said.
Other Finance Committee recommendations for the new budget are:
* $799,080 for general government, down $62,184 from its initial number of $861,264.
* $761,274 for the Police Department, down $56,382 from its initial recommendation of $817,656.
* $687,877 for the Fire Department, down $36,950 from $724,827.
* $663,752 for public safety, down $27,131 from $690,883.
* $662,931 for health and sanitation, down $15,640 from $678,571.
* $969,910 for Public Works, down $165,059 from $1,134,969.
* $82,000 for General Assistance, down $1,137 from $83,137.
* $225,000 for Rumford Public Library, which is the same as the committee's initial recommendation in the defeated budget.
* $219,960 for public service, down $14,053 from its initial recommendation of $234,013.
* $148,685 for debt service and interest, down $8,000 from $156,685.
* $460,031 for capital accounts, down $51,115 from $511,146.
The only budget that the Finance Committee increased instead of decreased was unclassified accounts. The committee increased that by $100,300 to $1,491,000 from its initial recommendation of $1,390,700.
At 5:30 p.m. Friday, June 28, selectmen will convene their annual End of the Year meeting in Rumford Falls Auditorium. Rumford's year runs from July 1 through June 30 of the following year.
At that meeting, the board will approve a date for a public hearing on the new municipal budgetary recommendations and establish secret poll election dates.
In other municipal news, the town office will be closing at noon on Friday, June 28, for the fiscal year ending closing of books.