Finance Committee plans sessions for autumn

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RUMFORD – The town’s Finance Committee reorganized Thursday night, and members decided to hold fall meetings to begin work on the budget for next year.

Ron Russell was elected vice chairman to replace Frank DiConzo, who was elected selectman in June.

Russell said Friday afternoon that the two meetings will be a chance for the committee, as well as the public, to get a better idea on budget needs. “We welcome input from townspeople,” he said.

The meetings are set for Sept. 10 and Oct. 1 at the Municipal Building at a time to be announced.

He said the committee has drawn a considerable amount of potential budget information from a June survey that asked whether residents wanted more, less or the same level of services from the fire, police, public works and parks departments, and the library.

“The Finance Committee will use that survey during budget deliberations,” he said.

According to the survey, 813 people want the Fire Department to continue the current level of service, 158 want more services and 621 want less.

For the Police Department, 806 want to continue the same services, 241 want more and 541 want less.

For the Parks Department, 1,035 want to retain current services, 214 want to increase them and and 337 want to decrease them.

At the Public Works Department, 1,080 want to retain present services, 117 want more and 324 want less.

At the library, 1,048 want to keep the services as is, 273 want to increase them and 265 want to decrease them.

“Those survey questions would be very beneficial to the public,” he said.

During the September and October meetings, department heads will be invited to give the committee an idea of what their needs and requests may be for fiscal year 2008-09.

At Thursday’s reorganizational meeting, Chairwoman Jolan Ippolito and Secretary John Kezal were re-elected to their positions. New members to the nine-person board, Jennifer Stowell Norris, a Revitalization Committee member, and Ron Theriault, a small businessman and former selectmen’s candidate, were also welcomed.

The committee also reappointed Harold Blake as town auditor.

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