RUMFORD — A proposed ordinance to establish a cap of $6.2 million on municipal spending isn’t going on the June town meeting referendum ballot after all.

At last week’s public hearing on proposed ordinances and amendments, selectmen unanimously approved placing the spending cap ordinance on the ballot, contingent on legal review.

That legal review came before selectmen at Tuesday night’s second public hearing. The board voted 4-0 to approve town attorney Jennifer Kreckel’s recommendation that the budgetary spending cap can only be accomplished by a charter change.

“The requested action goes directly to the budgetary powers and process of the charter,” Kreckel wrote in her April 30 letter to Town Manager Carlo Puiia.

“Because the changes being requested in the document submitted to the select board last week will fundamentally change the budgetary process, it is my legal opinion that this change needs to be done as a revision of the town charter rather than by amendment,” she said.

It can only be done by a charter commission, Kreckel said.

“The change proposed to the select board seeks to alter and limit the power of the town government and to institute a profound and fundamental change to the budgetary and voting process currently in our town charter,” she said.

Because the legal review came in as such, Puiia said selectmen voted to support Kreckel’s opinion, which nullified placing the spending cap ordinance on the warrant.

During discussion, it was mentioned that the mechanism is already in place for the citizens to reject budgets with the secret ballot. That would require town officials to resubmit budget amounts and hold another secret ballot election.

A point was also raised that the secret ballot process was done in the past without a charter commission.

“The town attorney did say that at that time they could do that,” Puiia said. “However, with what she has found out with case law now, that could be challenged.”

In other action, selectmen edited a proposed consumer fireworks ordinance and voted 4-0 to put it before voters in June.

Selectman Jeff Sterling raised an issue with one paragraph that said any three complaints brought on different days by neighbors would bring a total ban on consumer fireworks for the user and landowner.

Sterling objected to the word “complaints,” saying it was too ambiguous. He said complaints have been made and police investigated them only to learn that the suspect actions were completely legal.

The paragraph was removed. Additionally, selectmen changed language that gave the fire chief authority to issue citations for ordinance violations to the police chief and police officers. Fire Chief Bob Chase said he doesn’t legally have that authority but police do.

After much discussion, selectmen voted 3-1 to place a proposed property maintenance code on the ballot. It complements the International Building Code adopted in 2010.

Selectmen Chairman Greg Buccina wanted to table it and address sections of it at future meetings so residents could weigh in on it. But Selectman Jolene Lovejoy said the board has held public hearings on it and the public hasn’t participated.

She said the maintenance code is directed at basic things that people should be taking care of.

“I don’t think they’re out to turn Rumford into Disneyland,” Lovejoy said of Code Enforcement Officer Rick Kent and Chief Chase.

Chase and Kent spent several months drafting the ordinance with guidance and approval from the Planning Board.

Lovejoy said the board needs to start addressing blight issues now rather than waiting a year.

“Doing something is better than doing nothing,” she said. “The biggest thing for me is that the Planning Board liked this.”

By 4-0 tallies, selectmen also approved placing amendments to the Hawkers and Peddlers, Finance Committee, and Police and Fire Department ordinances discussed at the April 23 hearing on the ballot.

Two proposals by resident Candice Casey to substantially increase fines against pet owners who don’t clean up after their pets while walking them about town, and people transporting unsecured loads of waste that spill out and aren’t retrieved, were not approved.

The latter died for lack of a motion; the former from lack of a second.

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