RUMFORD — The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Thursday to schedule a workshop at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 5 to discuss whether the town should include recreation in the municipal budget.

“Over the last few years, the recreation portion of our budget has been relegated to the initiated article process, which means if the article does not receive the funding by a majority of voters, that initiated article does not receive any funding,” Chairman Greg Buccina said.

“There are people who feel that recreation should be an item on our municipal budget,” he said. “We won’t reach a decision today, but we can discuss how to move forward.”

Selectman Jeff Sterling told the board he always believed that recreation should be a part of the municipal budget.

“I can’t understand how it got put into initiated article or why it ever happened,” he said. “I’m interested in figuring out how something like this happens, from a logistical standpoint. I was thinking something akin to the library or Parks Department. There would be an independent Board of Trustees that oversee the day-to-day running of the Greater Rumford Community Center, which is our recreation entity in the town.”

Buccina agreed with Sterling, suggesting that one way the town could budget for recreation is by choosing to put the money in the Parks and Recreation department and have it voted on.

“You’d also have a certain entity oversee how that money is handled,” Buccina said.

Town Manager Carlo Puiia said it’s up to the Board of Selectmen to decide how to administer money for the town’s recreation.

Sterling said he’s most concerned with making sure everything is done correctly.

Selectman Jolene Lovejoy suggested to the board that a workshop be scheduled so everybody could sit down and discuss the situation.

“We’d never get anything done in a meeting like this,” Lovejoy said. “There’s a lot of things here that would have to come into play. All of that needs to be put on the table.”

Buccina agreed with Lovejoy’s suggestion, adding that it would be “a chance to ask the town, ‘Do we want to do this? Do we want recreation to be one of our core budget items? What are the ramifications of that?’

“Then, we can continue discussing this and see where the community wants to go,” he said. “I say, let’s get it going. It’s not something we can sit on our haunches with. Let’s start discussing this.”

The board reiterated that anybody is welcome to attend the Dec. 5 workshop at the Rumford Falls Auditorium.

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