Rumford, Mexico continue consolidation effort

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MEXICO — The Mexico and Rumford boards of selectmen agreed during Tuesday evening’s meeting to begin setting up subcommittees to consider consolidating services.

The boards have been meeting since June on to talk about sharing services.

In September, Municipal Resources, a New Hampshire-based company, provided both towns with a proposal for a comprehensive study on the subject. The boards approved the proposal.

Part of the proposal, according to Don Jutton, president of Municipal Resources, involves setting up subcommittees for different departments within each town.

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The five subcommittees Jutton originally recommended at a joint meeting Feb. 11 were Public Safety, Public Works, Parks and Recreation and Union Services, Budget and Finance, and Town Hall Operations.

Town Manager John Madigan said he emailed Municipal Resources employee Greg Hanscom the next day with some minor revisions to the committees.

“I told Greg that our police and fire departments are big enough to split from each other, and that I didn’t understand why they didn’t combine the Budget and Finance subcommittee with the Town Hall Operations subcommittee. To me, those are one and the same.”

Following a series of emails between Madigan and Hanscom, they agreed on the following five subcommittees: Police, Fire and Emergency Management, Parks, Recreation, Union Services and Libraries, Public Works, and Budget, Finance and Town Hall Operations.

Madigan said each subcommittee would be “populated with two selectmen, a department head from each town, residents from each town and a member of each town’s Budget Committee.”

“To me, that looks like a pretty good mix,” Madigan said. “If we have selectmen from each town co-chairing each committee, it seems like a pretty efficient way to get everybody together and seeing if this thing is really doable.”

Later in the meeting, Madigan explained to selectmen and residents that the purpose of each subcommittee will be to “look at the data from both towns and their respective departments and review the work that the consultants are doing to see what is and isn’t possible.”

Following discussion on the subcommittees, selectmen agreed to the following appointments:

* Mexico Selectman Reggie Arsenault and Rumford Selectman Frank DiConzo to the Public Works subcommittee.

* Mexico board Chairman Richie Philbrick and Rumford Selectman Jeff Sterling to the Parks and Recreation subcommittee.

* Mexico Selectman Jolene Lovejoy and Rumford Selectman Byron Ouellette to the Police subcommittee.

* Mexico Selectman Peter Merrill and Rumford board Chairman Greg Buccina to the Budget, Finance and Town Hall Operations subcommittee.

* Mexico Selectman George Byam and Rumford Selectman Brad Adley to the Fire Department subcommittee.

The next step, Madigan said, will be searching for residents to serve on each committee.

“Don Jutton asked me a couple of weeks ago, during the meetings with department heads, for a list of citizens from each town that are heavily involved in their respective towns,” Madigan said. “There are a lot of names from both towns on the list here, and if anybody else wants to volunteer and their names are not on the list, they’re more than welcome to do so.”

He said the towns will begin advertising for volunteers in the newspaper in coming weeks.

mdaigle@sunjournal.com

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