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."