Proposed charter change going to Nov. 2 voters, proposal to come next week

RUMFORD — The Board of Selectmen voted 3-0 Thursday night to place a charter change proposal on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Terry Karkos/Sun Journal

Rumford Selectman Jeff Sterling listens as Town Manager Carlo Puiia explains options for a proposed charter change at Thursday night's board meeting. 

A workshop is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the options, followed by a meeting at 7 to decide which one to present to voters.

The charter change is prompted by the vote in June on funding Black Mountain ski resort. A total of 637 voted for the Finance Committee's recommendation of $51,000; 430 went with the selectmen's  recommendation and the resort's request of $56,700; and 657 voted to not raise any money.

Because the largest block of voters denied funding, the resort got nothing. But that set off a controversy, because some believed that the other two blocks of voters should indicate most people wanted to give the resort money.

At Thursday night's meeting, Town Manager Carlo Puiia presented two options to handle initiated articles, his and town attorney Tom Carey's. The following format is his option.

Voters would first be asked if the town should raise and appropriate funding for whatever organization, and given a Yes or No box to check. If they voted Yes, they'd vote for either recommended amount. If they voted against funding, they would be asked not to vote on an amount.

However, resident Kevin Saisi said the problem with that would be whether the computer program in the current automated ballot counting machines would nullify a No funding vote if that person then mistakenly voted for an amount. Puiia agreed.

No one, however, knew the answer.

Town attorney Tom Carey's option would have selectmen and the committee meet in joint session within 14 days of notice of the meeting to reconcile their different recommendations into one recommendation. People would then either vote for the recommendation or zero funding.

However, Puiia said that could still create the same problem because selectmen cannot mandate that the committee agree with their amount or vice versa.

Carey's option also included a proviso that would prevent organizations whose initiated request was defeated at the polls from petitioning for reconsideration, as Black Mountain did.

A third option was broached by resident Jim Rinaldo. It would require the winning tally to be 50 percent, plus one vote more than the other tally.

Puiia then raised a fourth option: Eliminate the recommendation by selectmen and just put the committee's recommendation before voters as has been done in the past.

But issues with that were that the committee is appointed, whereas selectmen are elected to do the will of the people. So, it was argued that removing that ability would further weaken the will of the people.

After discussing numerous potential problems, Selectman Greg Buccina got board members Jeff Sterling and Jeremy Volkernick to dismiss the board's previous idea to have a reconciliation meeting between selectmen and the committee, should they not agree on an amount to recommend.

But then, they couldn't decide whether to go with Puiia's modified option or Rinaldo's idea, so they motioned to table the matter until the whole board could grapple with it.

Brad Adley and Mark Belanger were absent Thursday.

However, Puiia then got Buccina to rescind his motion, telling the board that they could still vote to place a proposed charter change on the Nov. 2 ballot, and then meet next week to determine what it will be.

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Ask Yourself

Mainebob has the BM board run any fundraisers in the pst or even now. They can afford their adds on TV. Those don"t come cheap. The question is what do they do with the monoies they do take in ? Why do they leave their lights on practically every night during the winter after ours ? They charge all other non -profits to use the mountain. It's not cheap to do a rental. Someone has stated it already,POOR MANAGEMENT. Libra should have dissolved that board long ago. They do not know how to help themselves and they drive away potential income fighting against windpower.

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no reason for "duh"

In what word do selectmen and Town Managers have knowledge on how voting machines are programmed? I asked the question because it was relevant to the discussion, but it was not expected that anyone would have the answer. These questions need to be asked of those who work for the state who are familiar with these machines. The town is scheduled to get new voting machines soon, they haven't even been bought yet. How is anyone to know what functions exist on a piece of machinery that hasn't even been bought?

Cart before horse

Does the charter and ordinance say that changes such as is trying to be proposed can only be done once a year? And that once a year is in April for the June poll. Again is this board and manager trying to side step. Have any of the Board members taken the time to thoroughly read our town chater and ordinances? These problems again wouldn't have happened if the former commission wouldn't have had an agenda. Are any of those people from the commission on the wind power. Sure does seem it! The mind set of "What's best for me and the heck with the rest of the citizens." Taxpayers of Rumford you voted what you wanted to happen and it's not. Stand your ground. Don't let the scare tactics change your mind. You have a voice and now they are trying to take it away again. They don't know what KISS means!

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I still see black

Kind of like calling the kettle black don't ya think Frank. When you served, how many ordinances and charter rules did you break? Shall we list them all? I find it utterly hiliarious when you call people out on the same games you played. Heres a definition you should learn HYPROCRITE: a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

Yes Erin

Why don't you list them. The real hyprocrite is people who call others that for no reason. Who seem to crawl out from the woodwork with their sarcasm because they either belong to special interest or have a thorn in their foot that's bothering them. The only kettle thats black must be yours. I don't own one.

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hmmmmmm I hear a chain saw

hmmmmmm I hear a chain saw Frank, familiar sound to you isn't it???????? You'd be able to get further in your political career if you got off the damn high horse you've ridden since I was a child.

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How about discussing a town

How about discussing a town employees medical condition through email to someone who isn't even in Rumford, oh wait thats not public knowledge yet.

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Charter

The rules for changing the Charter are addressed by state law. However, under home rule, our Charter allows for the board to call for a special town meeting to address many issues, including charter changes. I refer you to the "critical circumstance" reference used in re-addressing the Black Mountain issue.

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