RUMFORD — Voters on Tuesday turned down all municipal budget articles in a third referendum on the spending plan.
A fourth budget referendum must be held within 45 days.
The breakdown from Tuesday's vote was:
* $655,000 for the Fire Department, by a vote of 514-629.
* $738,774 for the Police Department, 509-639.
* $652,683 for public safety, 513-634.
* $78,000 for General Assistance, 489-658.
* $799,080 for general government, 506-641.
* $423,000 for capital accounts, 504-643.
* $1,390,700 for unclassified accounts, 465-679.
Voters turned down all 12 money articles on June 11. They totaled $7.5 million. Selectmen cut $1 million from the next budget, which was presented July 23. The Finance Committee reduced the proposed budget to $7.2 million.
At that referendum, eight of the 12 budget articles were rejected. Passed were funds for health and sanitation, the Rumford Public Library, public service and debt service.
Town Manager Carlo Puiia said the town's charter allows revotes as many times as needed until a municipal budget is passed. Each referendum costs the town about $5,000, he said.
Puiia said selectmen likely will develop a new budget at their Sept. 5 meeting. The Finance Committee also must meet to work on each of the defeated articles.
A public hearing on the new figure must be held within 30 days of the vote, and a referendum within 45 days of Tuesday's vote.
Puiia said the number of municipal employees has dropped from 90 full-time people in 1992, to the current 63. Several Public Works employees are expected to lose their jobs this year.
“It's the sentiment of the voters that they want smaller government, fewer employees and benefits, and smaller services,” Puiia said.
The current tax rate is $24.25 per $1,000 of valuation. Puiia said he expects that rate to remain the same, or possibly to drop slightly. The final figure will be determined by the value of the NewPage paper mill.
Because the town has not yet passed a budget, tax bills have not been sent, which could cause a cash-flow problem.
Puiia said the town has a good cash reserve, and in the past, has asked NewPage to make an early tax payment. It is likely that the town will again make a request.
He said the town has never had to take out a tax-anticipation note. Whenever that is done, interest is added to the original borrowed figure.