RUMFORD — Anyone hoping to do business at the town office Friday discovered the door was locked.

In an effort to save the town about $300,000 before the end of the fiscal year on June 30, most nonunion employees, who are mostly office workers, are taking furlough days, similar to those now required of state employees.

Town Manager Carlo Puiia said the plan is to have the employees take five furlough days. Whether they do depends on how the public reacts to not having many municipal services available five days a week.

Friday’s furlough day was linked to Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, which means heat and electricity won’t be needed for four days.

The next furlough day is scheduled Friday, Feb. 12, which means another four-day shutdown because Washington’s Birthday/Presidents Day is Feb. 15.

Puiia said municipal departments that are unionized are finding other ways to save money; essential services, such as police, fire and public works are continuing as usual. He said police Chief Stacy Carter and Capt. Dan Garbarini have volunteered to take an unpaid furlough day.

Rumford is expecting to lose about $159,000 in state revenue sharing for the current fiscal year. That isn’t the only reason for the furlough days, however. Puiia said the loss of state valuation boosted the tax rate from $19.60 per $1,000 valuation to $24.
He said Rumford, unlike most towns, does not budget revenue sharing into a budget until the year after it is granted, so those funds won’t be felt until the next fiscal year.

Both Mexico and Dixfield are not considering employee furlough days, at least not now, Mexico Town Manager John Madigan said. His town stands to lose $100,000 before the end of June, unless the state Legislature puts some of that money back into revenue sharing.

“We’re not at that point yet,” Dixfield Town Manager Eugene Skibitsky said of possible furlough days.

Dixfield may lose $79,000 in revenue sharing before the end of June. Skibitsky plans to meet with the department heads next week to try to find ways to cut costs.

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