Rumford selectmen approve community benefits agreement

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RUMFORD — The Board of Selectmen on Thursday unanimously approved a community benefits agreement with Poland Spring Water Co./Nestle Waters North America.

Called the Poland Spring Rumford Community Fund, it’s part of the 15-year agreement signed in August by Rumford Water District with the Poland Spring Water Co. to draw up to 150 million gallons of water per year from two district wells.

Nestle Waters would invest $250,000 per year over the first four years of water extraction to create an investment fund of $1 million. It would also provide $50,000 per year in each of the first four years to Rumford for projects now and $20,000 per year in lieu of taxes during the 15-year agreement.

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Town Manager Linda-Jean “L-J” Briggs said meetings by Kendall A. Ricker of Boothby Perry LLC of Turner, representing Rumford, and Poland Spring lawyers have “rectified all concerns” the town had with the benefits agreement.

She said still to be discussed among selectmen is how the community fund will be overseen.

Briggs said the community fund board will be separate from the Board of Selectmen. It’s been recommended that this be a three-person board, with a goal to establish the board before the end of the year.

The new board would evaluate projects benefiting from the community fund.

Briggs said the town would invest the money with the understanding that only the interest would be spent.

Selectmen also voted unanimously on an evaluation agreement with Nestle Waters North America. In it, Nestle agrees to spend not less than $100,000 within a three-year period to locate two other potential sources of spring water within a one-hour drive of Rumford. Those two additional sources, in addition to the Ellis River aquifer, could support a bottling plant in Rumford.

Briggs noted that Poland Spring and Nestle Waters have approved both agreements.

In other business, selectmen voted to set the winter parking ban for the first plowable snowstorm or Dec. 1.

Briggs warned, “Snow removal (regulations) will be enforced this winter as well as the winter parking ban.”

bfarrin@sunmediagroup.net

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