RUMFORD — Town Manager Carlo Puiia issued a news release Thursday night to help voters better understand next week's special town meeting.
From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 23, Rumford residents will re-vote on all municipal budgets at the American Legion Hall.
After voters defeated the initially proposed municipal budget on June 11, selectmen reduced their recommendation from the original requested amount of $7.6 million to $6.5 million, a decrease of more than 14 percent. The Finance Committee reduced its budget recommendations to $7.2 million, a reduction of more than 5 percent.
"If the town's valuation remained constant, this would mean that the average homeowner could see their property taxes change from $1,471 this past year to a minimum of $1,331 if the selectpersons' recommendations are approved, or to a maximum of $1,407 if the Finance Committee's recommendations are approved," Puiia said.
"The caveat is that some of the services we are accustomed to will be reduced," he said.
Recommendations for the general government account, which funds municipal office operations, among other things, would close the town manager's office on occasion and restrict some of the municipal building's scheduled maintenance, Puiia said.
A reduction in the public safety account, which includes streetlights and emergency management, mandates removal of one of every five streetlights to save $26,000. The lower amount also reduces the code enforcement officer's availability.
In the Police Department budget, a utility officer and the administrative officer at the dispatching window already have been released, Puiia said. Residents must file complaints or requests for service by contacting the Oxford County dispatching office in Paris.
A spending reduction will require the department to further reduce staff by eliminating one of the two detective positions, the town manager said.
He said the Finance Committee's recommendation would keep the second detective's position to help work on drug and other criminal investigations.
Cuts in the Fire Department budget would mean staffing shortages up to 50 percent of the time, Puiia said.
"This reduction could result in delays for interior rescues and responses," he said.
If the Finance Committee's recommendation is approved, it would maintain keeping three firefighters on duty at all times.
In the health and sanitation budget, selectmen cuts would eliminate curbside collection to continue. The Finance Committee's recommendation would continue curbside collection services.
"Please take note," Puiia said. "If you do not support the Finance Committee's amount, you will most likely be billed separately for trash pickup which, because of the added administrative costs and the non-trash-producing land values removed from the equation, would end up costing everyone considerably more than if it was included in your tax bill."
The biggest reduction in the Public Works Department would be in the winter roads account.
"It is unpredictable what impact this kind of reduction will have on the safety of our roads and our ability to properly clear sidewalks, along with the removal of snow buildup around intersections, schools, churches and other congested areas," Puiia said.
Cuts in the library account would reduce weekly operating hours from 48 to 40, reduce the book and video budget by at least 50 percent, eliminate the page position and reduce hours for some part-time employees.
Cuts to the public service account would eliminate the skating rink at Three Fields, defer maintenance of facilities and cemeteries and possibly require future charitable events, such as Relay For Life held at the Hosmer Field Complex to pay a nominal usage fee, Puiia said.