RUMFORD — A hearing will be held next month on a proposal to allow selectmen to amend the town charter twice a year instead of once.

Town Manager Carlo Puiia prefaced his proposal Thursday night by saying that two years ago a selectman wanted to give the board the ability to make unlimited charter changes annually.

Fellow board members, however, didn’t support it.

Maine law allows towns with charters to make one charter change per year, unless otherwise specified in the town charter.

Puiia’s proposal would allow the board to amend the charter at the board’s June meeting and in November.

That gives residents a chance to vote on the amendments at two regular elections: town meeting in June and the November referendum.

“And it gives the town the flexibility to twice a year make a change if so needed,” he said.

The impetus to provide the opportunity for semiannual charter changes came last year after town meeting.

That’s when 657 residents voted to give Black Mountain of Maine ski resort no money on its initiated article request, but 420 voted to fund it $56,700 and 637 wanted to give it $51,000.

Despite more people voting to donate money than against, donating nothing trumped that, denying funding.

Pursuant to the charter, Black Mountain supporters asked selectmen to convene a special meeting, arguing that the lack of funding created a critical circumstance.

Selectmen voted otherwise and denied it.

Again following the charter, resort officials then petitioned, asserting a critical circumstance existed without the donation: they’d be forced to close the ski hill.

Selectmen granted their request for a special town meeting, but it was held up due to a lawsuit that claimed they didn’t have the right to seek a re-vote. The court, however, decided otherwise and a majority did eventually vote to fund Black Mountain $51,000.

Selectmen closed that petition loophole in November.

On Thursday night, they scheduled a charter revision hearing on Puiia’s amendment for 6 p.m. May 12 in Rumford Falls Auditorium.

Selectmen will discuss the proposal and decide whether to place it on the June town meeting ballot.

If voters then approve the amendment, Puiia said that if something arises after the June election, selectmen could amend the charter in November without declaring a critical circumstance exists.

In other business, the board approved no longer using the Maine Planning Office wind template to create a wind ordinance.

They also scheduled a special selectmen’s meeting for 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 4, in the auditorium to continue work on the wind ordinance.

Selectmen additionally approved buying a new six-cylinder Dodge Charger police cruiser by accepting Bessey Motors’ bid of $20,994 and trading in the old Ford Crown Victoria cruiser that it’s replacing.

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