RUMFORD — A Rumford logger will start selectively cutting trees next month on 43 acres of town land to free up space for quality trees.
Selectmen on Thursday hired Kenrick Logging, approving Kenrick Thibodeau's bid of $19,080.75 for the harvest job at the Franklin Annex Lot.
It was the highest bid of five proffered that met the bid specifications, Town Manager Carlo Puiia said.
Normally, the lowest bid is usually chosen in the bidding process, but it's the opposite with timber harvest bidding.
“We're going to get reimbursed for the wood that is harvested, so we're not looking for the lower number, we're looking for the higher number, which is what this individual is going to pay us to harvest trees on town land,” Puiia said.
Selectman Brad Adley asked town forester Brian Milligan the value of the land with standing timber on it.
Milligan said he isn't an appraiser and didn't know.
“The wood lot has a fair amount of value right now ... but a harvest isn't going to have that big of an impact,” he said.
“Right now, it's overstocked and we're losing wood and that doesn't really contribute much to the property.”
The goal is to remove poor-quality and dying trees while favoring red oak and other quality trees. The harvesting activity will follow Maine's Forestry Best Management Practices.
When Selectmen Chairman Greg Buccina asked about the type of harvest, Milligan said it would be a partial cut.
“We're shooting for 40 percent removal,” he said. “I guess you'd call it a selective harvest. The wood that we're looking to take out is lower quality as far as value.”
Adley said that about three or four years ago, town meeting voters wanted timber harvested on town lots.
Despite that, he said he doesn't think Rumford should be in the land ownership business. Instead, he wants the lots back on the tax rolls.
“The stands are overstocked,” Milligan said. “They need some attention.”
Selectmen then approved Thibodeau's bid, voting 5-0.
In other business, selectmen unanimously approved Quirk Auto's bid of $21,184 on a new Dodge Charger police cruiser to replace a Crown Victoria cruiser that's approaching 113,000 miles.
Police Chief Stacy Carter said the six-cylinder Chargers work fine for police cruisers and get 18 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.
The board also learned that despite taking $17,000 in damage this summer from Tropical Storm Irene, Black Mountain of Maine ski resort is ready for the season and will have more snow-making capacity.
“Weather permitting, that means we can open earlier,” Roger Arsenault, Black Mountain board president, said during a regular update.
“For the record, we've never been this prepared. ... Everything's ready, and we're waiting for snow.”
He credited General Manager Jim Carter for getting things under control at the resort.
Arsenault said the resort could open a week ahead of schedule on Dec. 18, the day after a scheduled snowmobile hill climb event.
Among new additions are hiring a marketing firm, Maine Handicap Skiing expanding its program from Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry to Black Mountain and a new racing program, which has already attracted 23 children.
Arsenault also said season pass sales are up 23 percent over last year and enrollment in the kindergarten through first-grade program, which is basically free skiing, is up 24 percent over last year.
“We've got a jewel right there, and we need to support it,” Buccina said.
As for the planned shifting of the centerline on Hancock Street to restrict parking to the east side only instead of both sides, Puiia said that's not going to happen because the company that does it stowed their gear for the winter.
Instead, No Parking signs will be placed along the west side of the road.