RUMFORD — Residents planning to place their accumulated junk and trash on the curb for spring cleanup should rethink that idea.
On Thursday night, selectmen unanimously decided against offering that longtime perk as a task-cutting experiment with Public Works.
“The transfer station will still be open to take whatever (residents) want to dispose of at no charge, but they would be responsible for transporting it themselves,” Town Manager Carlo Puiia said.
He provided the board with a 15-year tally of truck load totals from 1995 to 2010 and breakdowns of load types.
“On average, we were collecting 275 loads, and in 2010, there was 166 loads,” he said.
“So, based on these records and probably because we've done it for so many years and so consistently, there's some potential to suspend that and utilize the men for different jobs this spring.”
Puiia said sometimes part-time employees are hired to help with the work, an extra cost that could be alleviated by suspending the service.
“By looking at these numbers, I think it's something we could suspend for a year and do it next year, and it wouldn't jeopardize our safety or any problems with tenants,” he said.
From 268 loads in 1995, spring cleanup totals went to 355.5 in 2000, and to 363 in 2006.
Aside from a 15-year average of 117 loads of trash, wood and metal accounted for the majority, averaging 69 and 45 loads, respectively. Brush averaged 27 loads. Tires and cardboard load averages were much lower, at 11 for tires and five for cardboard.
After 2006's high of 363, yearly loads plummeted to 166 last year.
That's why Puiia said he thinks the numbers are low enough to suspend collection for a year. He said if the loads get substantially higher in 2012, that could warrant returning to annual collections instead of biennial.
“It's an experiment,” he said. “It should be safe to skip a year.”
In other business, the board:
* Approved police Chief Stacy Carter's recommendation to hire David Hodgson of Dixfield as Rumford's newest officer. Hodgson currently works for Dixfield police and graduated from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro last year. Carter said Friday that Hodgson could possibly start patrolling Rumford by next week.
* Approved a bid of $7,100 from Industrial Protection Services LLC of Yarmouth for Rumford firefighting gear for several new call-force members.
* Agreed to give Rumford's 27 municipal nonunion employees a 2 percent wage bonus in 2012 after Selectman Mark Belanger said he didn't believe such increases would be sustainable over the next 10 years with population declines. Puiia said he didn't disagree. A motion to provide a recommended 3 percent pay raise died for lack of a second.
* Scheduled a public hearing for March 17 on whether to change a section on York Street from Maine Avenue to Oxford Avenue to one-way for safety reasons.