The high tax rate has contributed to the decline of Rumford. However, tax rates are not the only obstruction to Rumford’s economic development.

On June 10, Rumford voters will determine spending for 2014-2015 and elect two selectmen to stay the tax-and-spend course or work towards a brighter future.

At the May 15 selectmen’s meeting, Christopher and Tonya DeSalle and Don Hamann took on one of the other obstacles, blight, by taking ownership of two tax-acquired properties that have needed to be demolished and disposed of for years. Hamann will remove the blight from 411 Cumberland St., and the DeSalles will remove the blight from the lot they acquired.

We need more people with the resources and will of the DeSalles and Hamann to take ownership of and responsibility for the demolition of blighted properties, especially since town leadership has shown they have no will to follow through, even after voters have approved spending to do so.

There is no reason why people cannot be more responsible in cleaning up after their pets, in picking up litter, and in helping neighbors to improve the appearance of Rumford — making it healthier and more attractive for visitors, potential investors, and those who live here.

Yes, taxes must be lowered for economic development to return to Rumford, but lower taxes alone won’t do it. It will take some effort from all residents to address blight, large and small.

Candice Casey, Rumford

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