Rumford board unanimously votes to support bringing natural gas to town

Terry Karkos/Sun Journal

Town Manager Carlo Puiia displays a plaque the town recently received from U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud, D-Maine, recognizing Rumford for its efforts to make the region a better place to do business.

RUMFORD — Selectmen voted 4-0 Thursday night to continue support for bringing natural gas to Rumford.

Chairman Greg Buccina was absent.

Town Manager Carlo Puiia said former Selectman Jim Rinaldo has been working with officials from Maine Natural Gas of Brunswick, trying to get them to bring natural gas to Rumford and Mexico.

Rinaldo wasn't at Thursday night's closed-door session, but Puiia introduced Rinaldo's information to selectmen. The board exited the executive session and a motion was made to continue support for natural gas and pursuit of tax-increment financing for the future project.

Puiia said area schools and Rumford Hospital are interested in switching to natural gas. He also said many residents would realize a 30- to 40-percent savings switching to natural gas for home heating.

A second executive session was a continuation of the board's annual performance review of the town manager, prior to approving a new contract, he said. The board decided to wait until Buccina could be present to finalize the contract.

In other business, the board voted 4-0 to hold a public hearing on the proposed municipal budget revote at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, in Rumford Falls Auditorium. The regular selectmen meeting will follow at 7 p.m.

Selectmen also approved voting on the budget at the polls Tuesday, Aug. 27. They conditionally approved 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. as the voting hours.

Acting Chairman Jeff Sterling said the town charter specifies that voting hours will be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the polls.

Puiia said the next sentence after that gives selectmen the authority to decide when polls can be opened and closed for special meetings that include budget referenda.

Because of the conflict, Puiia suggested selectmen conditionally approve 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. per town attorney Jennifer Kreckel's opinion on the matter.

Voting will be held in the American Legion hall.

The board also voted 4-0 to approve Board of Selectmen Chairman Buccina as the election warden. Selectmen Frank DiConzo and Brad Adley volunteered as deputy wardens. Each was approved 3-0. DiConzo and Adley abstained from voting for themselves.

Selectmen also voted 4-0 to appoint David Saphier as health officer after getting a ruling that states Saphier, who lives in Mexico, doesn't have to be a Rumford resident to fill the state-mandated position.

By a 3-0 vote, the board also appointed Bromley Cook to the Finance Committee. DiConzo abstained from voting, saying he didn't know the man. The other applicant was Josanne Dolloff.

Puiia also displayed and read the Congressional sentiment on a plaque from U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud, D-Maine, that was given to Rumford recently because the town received a national Main Street designation and for joining the Maine Downtown Network Program.

According to the plaque, the program has promoted the revitalization of downtowns across the country by leveraging local assets, such as cultural or architectural heritage, local enterprise and community pride.

As a national Main Street designee, Michaud said Rumford would receive guidance, resources and professional training in community development from the Maine Downtown Center. The center serves as the state coordinator for the program.

"Rumford is capitalizing on its distinct character through a unique public-private partnership, to stimulate economic vitality in the heart of their community," Michaud said.

"This recognition acknowledges the hard work that the town of Rumford and its business community have put towards strengthening the local economy. Their efforts are already yielding dividends and making the region a better place to do business."

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 's picture

Maine Natural Gas

Maybe Maine Natural Gas will rebuild the streets and sidewalks when they run the new gas lines as they will be tearing what is left of them up to run the lines. They can use some of that tax-increment financing to have passable roads and sidewalks in Rumford since it is obvious from my husband's and my recent drive through town, the money gotten from Rumford Property Tax Payers, is not being used by the Public Works Department to maintain either the roads or sidewalks.

 's picture

Apparently nobody visited

Obviously nobody visited Rumford before giving that award granting Rumford a National Main Street Designation. It is sad that all these tax dollars from national on down are squandered on such meaningless things as giving awards that should signify the existence of local assets, such as cultural or architectural heritage, local enterprise and community pride when none exist or the few that do such as architectural history have been allowed to deteriorate to the point said architectural history is falling in on itself. There are a lot of place the money spent on this program could have been spent on then on a meaningless award, like cleaning up the litter, fixing the sidewalks, or planting real trees to replace the highway cone trees on Congress Street.

Richard Greene's picture

Where do you live, really?

For someone that says they don't live around here you have an awful lot of interest in our town. Most of that interest is very negative and the last thing our town needs right now is more negativity, especially from someone that at least pretends to not live around here.

Hart Daley's picture

What About Dixfield??

I read in the article that natural gas is being pursued for Rumford / Mexico...but what about Dixfield? Rumford and Mexico have it right. They are soliciting an efficient and inexpensive source of energy for their towns. TM Carlo Puiia said area schools and Rumford Hospital are interested in switching to natural gas. He also said many residents would realize a 30- to 40-percent savings switching to natural gas for home heating. Dixfield needs to wake up and realize this is the affordable energy source of our future! Natural Gas and Hydroelectric energy are constantly available to meet the demands of the users when air-conditioning and/or furnaces are running full tilt and at greatly reduced cost. The solicitation of wind energy in this area is wasteful, will only increase our electric rates and is inefficient and can't be relied on to provide energy during peak usage times, which is why there is always fossil fuel backup energy sources "constantly on line and running" to overcome the inefficiency of wind energy. Let's go River Valley.......pursue the most cost effective and reliable energy sources available (Natural Gas and Hydro) will inevitably attract more businesses and citizens to our area......move wisely into the future!

 's picture


Didn't I just read in another article in this publication that the environmentalists up there are all excited because a hydro power dam was torn down and they are working to remove the rest of these clean energy sources from Maine? Since when is natural gas used to run A/C? I live in Florida where A/C is everywhere and it most definitely does not use Natural Gas.

Hart Daley's picture

Poor Florida

I feel bad that Florida is so behind the times....I can run my furnace, hot water and stove off propane. They make all appliances compatible if you just look. Hydro by the way produces very efficient energy that you could run your AC off, except that there aren't as many rivers available in FL as there are in the Northeast...guess you guys could burn oranges??

 's picture

Have Gas but no such thing as gas a/c

Our house is equipped with gas hot water heater, with an electric backup and runs solar during the day. The inside oven is electric, as is the cook top in the kitchen. We do have gas fireplaces. We have a gas outdoor kitchen that includes a grill, gas refrigerator, gas cook top, gas oven, gas lights that are fed by TECO but we also keep tanks on hand just in case. We have a generator that will run the entire house in an outage. The generator is connected to both TECO and the underground tank filled with gasoline in the event the TECO feed gets interrupted by severe storm or other issue. We also have solar panels that heat the water during the day. We have other water solar panels that heat the pool water in cooler weather and at night in hot weather run to cool the pool or it gets too much like trying to swim in a very hot bath tub. We have solar voltaic panels for power, what we don't use we sell to FPL. We have been looking into a domestic wind turbine since we have a wonderful sea breeze most of the time and this would eliminate any need to pull from FPL at night. The A/C is electric. I haven't located gas A/C anywhere. If you know who makes gas powered A/C would love to hear who or where these can be found so we can look into them.


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