RUMFORD — Parking will be limited to one side of Essex Avenue following a Board of Selectmen vote Thursday night.

At issue were safety concerns for emergency vehicles and property owners trying to enter and exit their driveways, Town Manager Carlo Puiia said.

The area in question, he said, is the section of Essex Avenue that’s between Penobscot and York streets at the west end side of the Stephens High School Memorial Park lot.

“What it is, is parents coming to pick their children up or drop them off” at Rumford Elementary School, Puiia said.

“They park both sides of the street. It creates such a small pathway that only one car can get up it.”

He said it poses a problem with any kind of emergency vehicle trying to get through there.

“It’s also been kind of a nuisance to people in that area who are trying to get in and out,” Puiia said.

“It’s not like it happens all the time, but it happens every day, so it’s creating a little bit of a congestion in that area, which is a concern.”

After fielding complaints from property owners, he said he asked police Chief Stacy Carter to visit the site and review it during peak hours.

Puiia said there is plenty of available parking lower down on York Street. Carter, he said, recommended posting the side closest to Lincoln Avenue, which parallels Essex Avenue.

Puiia said homeowners in the area are inconvenienced “because sometimes the way the people park it can limit access to their driveways.”

“They can park so close that they can’t get in or out without angling their car to the left or right,” he said.

“A single car can get through, but anything larger than a passenger car cannot get through. They have a difficult time.”

Selectman Brad Adley motioned to post a No Parking This Side of Street sign on Essex Avenue between York and Penobscot streets. It was seconded and approved, 5-0.

In other business, Puiia said:

* The area’s food pantries “are in dire need of assistance,” so Rumford will provide bins for people to drop off canned food at the town office.

* Trees lining Congress Street, including their stumps, will be removed after Thanksgiving, starting early in the morning each day so as not to interrupt traffic.

* Rumford’s winter parking ban will begin on Dec. 1 or the first plowable snowstorm and continue “all the way to April, whether there’s a storm or not.”

* Rumford received a judgment to remove a garage on Kerr Street. He said the defendants are to pay the town for the cost incurred to remove the structure. Should they not pay, the lien process will be used.

*At the board’s next meeting, it will discuss whether to hire someone for economic development services and possibly make a decision.

Additionally, during the public request portion of the meeting, Mike Hayden urged the board to diligently pare the budget long term, especially payroll.

Hayden, who described himself as a retired general contractor for the federal government and municipalities, said he bought land on East Andover Road in Rumford and built a log cabin, but is now trying to sell it.

“The town’s budget’s too big,” Hayden said.

“I request that the town cut its budget, take steps long term — not tomorrow — to reduce your payroll, to live on what your anticipated revenues are going to be, and to prepare, just in case that (NewPage Inc.) mill were to close tomorrow and that tax revenue that we get every year doesn’t come, and really prepare. I love it here.”

“We want you to stay,” Selectmen Chairman Greg Buccina said. He then invited Hayden to return to the board’s budget meetings.

“But remember, it’s the people who ultimately vote on budgets.”

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