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