RUMFORD — Selectmen adopted a new policy Thursday night for people who want to buy town property.

Ad Hoc committee members, who include fire Chief Bob Chase and town attorney Jennifer Kreckel, will gather information from delinquent taxpayers who want to buy back their property and from people who want to buy town property to demolish or rehabilitate it. The committee will also determine the financial capability of people to ensure they can do what they say they can.

The committee will make a recommendation to selectmen, who have the authority to dispose of town property as they see fit.

The new policy provides selectmen with guidelines to speed up the process when determining the disposition of tax-acquired and other town property. The board also approved adding language Kreckel provided about land installation contracts, which are payment plans of five months or more on town property.

“We need to make sure we do this right,” Selectmen Chairman Greg Buccina said.

Chase said he saw no conflicts with adding the land installation language that Town Manager John Madigan had suggested.

Selectman Frank DiConzo also added an amendment to exclude the assessor and assessor’s assistant to the list of town officials and immediate family members who cannot accept bid awards.

Because they had just adopted the new policy, selectmen had to move to send four land and property issues on the agenda to the Ad Hoc Committee for review. These were tabled from the board’s previous meeting to await adoption of the new policy.

The issues include a request from Steven Shearer to make payments to get back his tax-acquired property at 15 Free St.; an offer from Mark St. Cyr for tax-acquired property at 447 Swain Road; an offer from Don and Michelle Boucher for tax-acquired property at 21 Falmouth St.; and a quitclaim deed for Thomas Bordeau for tax-acquired property at 215 Penobscot St.

In other business, selectmen approved Len Greaney’s suggestion to place a form on the town website to solicit ideas and suggestions from residents that selectmen would consider and provide feedback to residents.

The board also listened to an update of Public Works equipment needs from Superintendent Andy Russell, but took no action.

Eight vehicles have various parts that need to be replaced because they’re worn out. These include a debris tank in the 1996 vacuum sweeper, dump truck bodies, sanders, plows, two augers on the snowblower, a pickup truck body and a quick-switch frame on another dump truck.

Russell said the overhead door in the garage shop needs to be replaced. The total cost to replace everything is $161,000, which Russell said is likely a little high because it’s an estimate. 

Madigan said there is $470,982.57 in the Equipment Reserve Fund to do this.

Selectmen talked about regionalization and sharing Mexico’s new vacuum sweeper and buying a used mechanical sweeper and sharing it with Mexico. Russell said mechanical sweepers pick up larger piles of sand, whereas vacuum sweepers do finishing functions better.

Selectmen asked Russell to look at a 2007 mechanical sweeper with a stainless steel body for sale to determine if it might fit both towns’ needs. He will bring that information back to the board’s next meeting in two weeks.

The board also took resident Peter Orino’s request to permanently close the road on McKenzie Hill under advisement. Orino said the steep road in Rumford’s Virginia neighborhood hasn’t been maintained and is hazardous due to potholes and washouts. He said he wanted to start the ball rolling on getting something done about it.

He said during the last big rainstorm, the ditches washed out and road material came down into his yard.

Selectmen close the road in the winter to allow children to slide down the hill.

Orino said he wants it shut down completely before someone trying to drive on it gets injured.

One resident said a “Pass at own risk” sign should be placed on it rather than permanently closing it.

Selectmen decided to have Madigan, Russell and Kreckel look at the road to determine a course of action. It was tabled until the next meeting.

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