Unfortunately, Rumford officials have taken more than 15 months to reach their current impasse on the path to provide an acceptable wind energy ordinance. The ordinance is essential to protect and enhance Rumford’s environmental and financial assets. The selectmen continue to argue the merits, without resolution.
The proposed ordinance should be voted down in June to allow a planned approach accompanied by a 6- to 12-month moratorium on wind development.
Wind energy is really all about money. I would like there to be a specific wind energy financial public hearing. The hearing should focus attention on the facts. Informed town officials and voters need to agree or disagree on critical issues.
Points for discussion should include a description of the wind energy proposal (number of turbines, total project value, assessed taxable value); projected tax revenue (without TIF, with TIF); use of tax revenue funds (tax reduction, economic development, etc.); other tangible benefits; decommissioning (financial concerns and surety); cost of electricity in Rumford (going down or going up); the potential profitability for landowners; the potential loss of property value for homeowners; and the opportunity to sell electricity to Southern New England.
Elected officials have approached the ordinance development activity as a part-time intervention to their daily activities. They are good people but they have undertaken this difficult task without a viable program plan.
Let’s ensure that voters are exposed to facts.
Len Greaney, Rumford Center