RUMFORD — The towns of Rumford and Mexico will meet at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4, at the Rumford Falls Auditorium to discuss municipal joint services and projects.

Mexico Town Manager John Madigan said Selectman Reggie Arsenault first approached him and the rest of the board earlier in the summer with information about an outside consultant who could investigate the departments of Mexico and Rumford and find areas where the two towns could consolidate services.

“We first met with Rumford and the consultant a few months ago, and the consultant said he would give us a proposal for us to decide on,” Madigan said. “We haven’t met with Rumford since then, so this meeting will be a chance to see if we want to have the consultant look into ways we can share services.”

Arsenault said he first discovered the consultant while reading an issue of the Maine Townsman.

“There was an advertisement for a group called Municipal Resources Inc. out of Portsmouth, N.H,” Arsenault said. “(The consultant) would be able to come in and do an audit of our departments and see where consolidation or regionalization would be possible. He’s also from out of state, so there’s no bias involved in the process.”

Madigan added that “everything we’ve done so far, in terms of consolidation, has worked well.”

“The solid waste system we use treats six towns,” Madigan said. “The sewerage treatment plant has three towns. Our ambulance service looks after 11 towns. The RSU (school) system is made up of 12 towns. All of those boards seem to get along well enough.”

Madigan later said he believes the current generation may view a consolidation as a loss of the town’s identity.

“I’ve always said that after the next two generations die off, there won’t be the same rivalry or the same competition between towns that there was before,” Madigan said. “I think a lot of people in my generation are worried about our town losing its identity by merging, but people will still know where everything is. I don’t think the towns would lose their identity.”

Though Madigan said he is amenable to the possibility of consolidation, he said Rumford and Mexico still have to decide whether they want the consultant to begin looking into each town’s departments.

Arsenault said, “Even if the consultant comes in and finds ways we can consolidate, we’ll still have a lot to discuss. If it’s going to take 8 to 10 years for us to get a savings, then maybe it’s not worthwhile. We also have to look at each town’s budget structure.”

However, despite the hoops that the towns would have to jump through, Arsenault said “the audit would lay things out in black and white, so we can take the next step in discussing consolidation.”

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