RUMFORD – The town’s adoption of the International Building Code has raised the ire of landlords.

Several landlords, who are members of the Rum-Mex Landlords Association, were present at Thursday’s selectmen’s meeting to voice their disapproval of the financial burden the code and inspections are putting on them. One of the landlords, Calvin Burgess, said he and other landlords weren’t trying to dodge inspections.

“Economic-wise, as far as the economy goes, as far as spending goes, it may be tight on us to follow the new rule book,” he said.

Selectman Rob Cameron noted that he was getting conflicting accounts about what citizens adopted when they approved the measure last year. “It’s very difficult to hold these people to a standard that we don’t have a clear view of. I’m opposed to it,” he said.

Town Manager Len Greaney pointed out that it was important to inspect the apartments and adhere to the code in the interest of safety.

“We don’t want to do warrants,” he said. “We want to work with people.”

He explained that despite the complaints about Waldo Street buildings being targeted, the street was chosen at random. Also, Greaney noted, the building code gives towns some leeway “to pick and choose a bit and do it legally.”

Jim Barnett, another landlord, emphasized that out-of-state landlords not following the code should be held accountable as well as local apartment owners. Many attractive buildings, he said, have violations of the standards that were put in place.

Selectmen discussed mass mailings to landlords informing them of what is required in the new building code as a way of helping them get a head start on making the needed safety upgrades to their apartments.

Barnett also questioned if the town sought federal Housing and Urban Development grant funds that could have been used to help tear down dilapidated buildings.

“There was no application,” Greaney responded.

“We have so much bickering in this town about little, small things,” Barnett said. “I think that was a slap in the face to us. I think we could have gotten half a million dollars to tear down these buildings.”

“It probably happened several months ago,” said Greaney of the application process. “I will check on it and be open and honest about what happened.”

In other business, with the snow dumps on Rumford Avenue and on Route 2 filling up fast, the town has been searching for another place to put snow. Greaney said he was working with Road Commissioner Andy Russell to get a new site with Department of Environmental Protection approval and that the town had some more room near its public works facility that it could use.

“My understanding is the contractors already have alternatives,” he said.

As far as snow removal on Canal and River streets, Greaney said he met with the DEP earlier Thursday and was informed that the town could blow snow from the two streets into the river. The town has done this the past two storms in order to more quickly clear the snow from the streets.

Greaney added that snow couldn’t be pushed from side streets onto River or Canal streets.

Cameron pointed out to selectmen that in the future, when an agenda item won’t be discussed at a meeting, the board should let those in attendance know at the beginning of the meeting so people won’t need to wait. This was in response to an incident that occurred at a previous meeting where an individual wanted to discuss an agenda item and the meeting adjourned without selectmen considering it.

Board members agreed with Cameron.

After the meeting, selectmen met in an executive session with the town manager to discuss a personnel matter.


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