Rumford town meeting voters OK $6.8 million municipal budget

RUMFORD — Town Manager Carlo Puiia said Wednesday that he was pleased voters supported the town budget at the polls Tuesday.

Terry Karkos/Sun Journal

The Rev. Daniel P. Beegan of Rumford gives his ballot one last look before inserting it into the voting machine at the polls in the American Legion hall in Rumford on Tuesday.

Voters gave their approval to a $6.8 million spending plan. They also OK'd social service articles totaling $205,277 for a total budget of $7.05 million, Debbie Laurinaitis, finance director, said early Wednesday afternoon.

“I'm pleased that the people supported it,” Puiia said of the municipal budget, which totals $6,849,258. It is $197,924 more than last year.

Capital improvements totaling $100,000, a $53,900 increase in insurances, and a $20,497 increase for general assistance mostly drove the hike.

Puiia said funding the capital accounts is based on a five-year plan required by the charter, but town meeting voters had underfunded capital improvements for years. This year they decided to restore $350,000, which is $67,675 less than what Puiia recommended.

Still, he said he was OK with the lower amount because “it's more than that's received for the past few years.”

Mostly, the majority went with the Board of Selectmen's recommendations on money articles.

“They went with the lower amounts in most cases,” Puiia said.

For General Government, 639 voters agreed to raise and appropriate $736,877, while 384 wanted the Finance Committee recommendation of $737,899, and 272 chose neither.

For the Police Department, 614 chose the selectmen's recommendation of $805,00, 376 voters chose the committee's recommendation of $827,069, and 301 voters didn't like either recommendation. The requested amount was $834,550.

Of the Fire Department's requested $711,426, 628 voters chose the selectmen's recommendation of $678,000, 389 picked the committee's recommendation of $700,000 and 276 chose neither amount.

For Public Works, 629 voters chose the selectmen's recommendation of $1,035,733, 386 picked the committee's recommendation of $1,073,187, and 244 wanted neither amount.

For General Assistance, 726 voters agreed to raise and appropriate $55,494, which both selectmen and the committee recommended, while 479 voted against the article.

Last year, a majority agreed to raise nothing for General Assistance instead of the recommended $70,021, forcing three special town meetings before agreeing to raise $35,000. As predicted by town officials, that left the welfare budget underfunded, prompting the $55,494 recommended amount this year.

For the Public Service budget, which includes the library, Park Department, and municipal planning, 628 voters approved the selectmen recommendation of $418,350, 379 wanted the committee recommendation of $464,620, and 252 voters wanted neither amount.

By approving the selectmen recommendation, the majority cut $46,942 from the library's requested budget of $246,942. The committee recommended raising $230,000 for the library budget.

Of the initiated articles, 724 voters agreed to raise and appropriate funding for Black Mountain of Maine ski resort, while 551 voted against doing so.

Of those who voted yes, 398 chose the selectmen recommendation of $51,000, whereas 299 chose the committee recommendation of $46,000.

At last year's town meeting, a majority agreed to raise nothing for the ski area. Like the welfare budget, it took three tries before a majority in October OK'd donating $51,000 to the resort.

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Ctizens Beware

First off I would like to thank all the voters who have always supported me in the town of Rumford. In the 21 years of service on the muninipal end I've strived to make taxes reasonable for the citizens. It seems that those I've worked with just didn't want to do the same. These people seem to have greater influence on people than anyone could imagine. This is unfortunate for the seniors and others living on fixed incomes. I've written letters to inform the public of waste spending and what could be done and people are deaf to it. The windpower vote defeat will cost the town of Rumford dearly. It would have helped Black Mt. greatly. Especially with their dependency for monies from town. It would have been non existent. The Libra Foundation and the board it allowed to stay in place are at odds with one another over this issue. The Libra Foundation should be ashamed for allowing that board to do what they have accomplished over wind. The people should ask about who is making land lease monies by allowing the use of their land for lay down area to the wind developers for Roxbury. Some of those people pushed for no wind in Rumford. But are making money from Roxbury wind. The land owners who stepped up and stated they would close their lands down should do so now. Or was is it just bull. We lost the veterans home. We lost the chipping mill. We the Budwieser brewery. It's because of who sits on your boards and past managers who have drivin them away. Less than 5000 people but levels of service have increased and not decreased. Poor work management and loosey work ethics by some,not all, add to increases. The RSU that could save millions but won't. Having people in positions they are truly not qualified for add to increase taxes. Put them all together voters ,who. Well we have put them in office, who then make appointments, who won't step up and do what's best for you - Let's change our name to DOOMford and post signs- CLOSED FOR BUSINESS -WE LIVE EXTRAVAGENT !

Hit Nail on Head Tom

The voters of this town continually continue to bury their heads in the sand. They dissappoint me also. What they need to approve they don't. Because of the way they vote they will be seeing tax increases. So they better not just stand on the corner and b - - - - . And now that there is a completed faction in town hall. Nothing will be done to lower taxes and get things done at all.

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