RUMFORD – Selectmen scheduled a special town meeting next month to vote to accept a federally-updated flood plain management ordinance and granted an easement to Central Maine Power Co. in return for more than $6,000.

Chairman Brad Adley told the board at Thursday night’s meeting that, according to the state, the Federal Emergency Management Agency had drafted new changes for the town’s flood plain ordinance which Rumford now needs to approve.

“This is more an emergency that we need to pass by July 7 or we will not be able to apply for FEMA money if a disaster hits and, if we don’t, we could possibly jeopardize flood insurance for our citizens,” Adley said.

When asked by Selectman Robert Cameron what the changes were, Adley said he didn’t know because he hadn’t yet read the document.

“When FEMA updates their policies, we have to follow them,” he said. “There’s not much of a choice.”

He then explained the updated ordinance as “basically, an insurance policy.”

Selectmen then unanimously set the time and date for a special town meeting for 6 p.m. on July 2, an hour prior to their next board meeting.

In other business, Town Manager Carlo Puiia explained that CMP wanted an easement along its transmission line corridor through Rumford because it plans to install bigger transmission lines to accommodate planned wind power facilities in Rumford and Roxbury.

The power line corridor extends from Rumford through Roxbury to Rangeley. The power company offered $6,975 for 135,000 square feet or 3.10 acres to widen mostly one side of the 100-foot-wide corridor by 50 feet.

Paul Fecteau, a licensed Realtor for CMP, said the company has proposed to upgrade its electricity delivery lines from 34,500 volts to 115,000 volts. That’s currently pending Maine Public Utilities Commission approval.

When the new power line is built, the old one will be removed, Fecteau said.

The offer price includes timber that can be harvested along the narrow strip.

Cameron, who owns land within the corridor, objected to the proposal, saying he’d rather see the town sell CMP the land outright than grant an easement.

Fecteau said CMP doesn’t want to buy the land, which is owned by 22 different people.

“With an easement, you don’t pay taxes on it and the landowner would be stuck with it forever and could never grow a stick of wood on it again,” Cameron said, explaining why it would be better to sell the land than grant CMP rights to use it.

However, Selectman Mark Belanger motioned to grant the easement and the board OK’d it 4-1. Cameron was the lone dissenter.

Following a closed-door session toward meeting’s end, to discuss a personnel matter with Puiia, police Chief Stacy Carter and fire Chief Gary Wentzell,

Puiia said selectmen decided against hiring a public safety director.

Last month, selectmen created the interim position and had Carter serve it.

Annual town meeting voters then made the position official through a charter change.

However, Puiia said selectmen decided they’d rather hire a fire chief than have a public safety director running both police and fire departments.

The town’s contract with Wentzell, who is also Mexico’s fire chief, ends this month.


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