Selectmen to decide today on ski-funding vote issue

RUMFORD — Tasked by Wednesday's court injunction to schedule a vote on Black Mountain ski resort's funding, selectmen Thursday night postponed the decision to sometime on Friday, Aug. 20.

After voting 5-0 to enter an emergency session to discuss the secret-ballot vote because it wasn't on the already-published agenda, the board couldn't decide on a venue.

At issue was whether RSU 10's Muskie Auditorium at Mountain Valley High School would be available for an early September meeting to begin at 5 p.m., or if it should be held in Rumford Falls Auditorium, which has a lower seating capacity.

To be safe, they agreed to recess Thursday night's meeting at the end of the agenda — rather than adjourn — to Friday, Aug. 20, to give Town Manager Carlo Puiia time to contact RSU 10 officials.

Knowing how many signed the Rumford ski hill's petition for a special town meeting to revote Black Mountain's request for $51,000 in funding, and that opponents could bring a like number to debate the hot issue, the board couldn't decide where it should be held.

“We had 500 people sign a petition and there may be just as many on the other side with just as much passion,” Selectman Jeff Sterling said. “I say, check with the high school on the auditorium.”

Selectman Greg Buccina urged fellow board members to schedule the meeting and all-day balloting as soon as possible, citing the ski hill's need to get a budget in place to start its winter season.

“The longer we delay this, the longer Black Mountain will be under the gun to get open,” Buccina said. “I don't think it's fair for Black Mountain or any other organization to wait while we finagle this.”

Buccina wanted the meeting held in the auditorium.

On Wednesday, Oxford County Superior Court Justice Robert Clifford granted the injunction to bump the revote off the Aug. 27 Welfare Budget ballot and into a separate town business-meeting warrant next month.

The injunction was filed on Aug. 11 by five men who believed that selectmen violated the Town Charter by allowing a revote on a petition-initiated article.

A majority of voters at the annual town meeting in June did not raise money for welfare or Black Mountain, prompting petitions by the ski hill to bypass the selectmen's decision not to put Black Mountain's revote before special town meeting voters.

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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Comments

 's picture

The majority of citizens

The majority of citizens voted to fund it.

You just don't get it.

 's picture

How stupid can some of you

How stupid can some of you be. You have a world-class facility (which was funded absoluately free) offering affordable skiing, snowboarding, tubing in your backyard, and yet you can't afford a mere $51k to keep it running? As Forest Gump says, "stupid is as stupid does". Perhaps Theriault and the boys will someday see the light. By the way, is Mr. Theriault really a lawyer? I thought he was an insurance salesman.

 's picture

The majority of voters DID

The majority of voters DID want funding for Black Mountain. The mountain is an economic plus for the community. I know for a fact of one family that lives in Central Maine who bought a small second home right in Rumford because they enjoy the atmosphere at Black Mountain and the overall area so much. That equals property taxes and local shopping. Over the years there have been various efforts and groups set up to help economic growth in the area. Let's not turn our backs on this one. I will be at the meeting. I don't ski but I support the economy of the area. Let's help Black Mountain and spend the time and money being used against it to actually help promote this economic gem around the state.

Fair Mr. Buccina

What has BM done to help themselves ? NOTHING! The elites that run the board for Libra foundations have sat back since Libra took over and have done nothing to help themselves. Not even a fund drive each year. If you recall they said , after Libra stepped in, that they would only ask for assistance one more time. That time has come and gone. When they got their signatures why didn't they ask for donations. If these 500 want to help so much then let them reach into their pockets and contribute. But why should they? the town will give it is what they say to themselves. Well the townspeople finnally said enough is enough. So what do they do ? Try to circumvent the process because they have members of the town board in their closet. Once in office you are no longer part of special interest remember. All the people not a chosen few.

Debbie Carver's picture

Actually the towns people did

Actually the towns people did say to give some amount of funding for Black Mountain. A minority voted to no funding!! Please stop revising the facts and help become part of the solution. Your comments can be so negative. I live in town and as far as I can see there are no "elites" around here. I see a dwindling population with less and less economic opportunities. RES has 84.6% of their students who are eligible for free or reduced lunch. Bashing a business that does draw in people will not help solve either of these problems.

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