RUMFORD — Selectmen voted 5-0 Thursday to push the due date for taxes from Oct. 1 to Nov. 3, after learning the tax rate likely won’t be set until after Sept. 17.

Voters must approve the change at a special town meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 22.

Town Manager John Madigan told the board Thursday night that the Board of Assessors and its industrial assessor are meeting with Brookfield Power on Thursday, Sept. 11, and with Rumford paper mill NewPage Corp. on Wednesday, Sept. 17. They are the town’s largest taxpayers.

The assessors can’t set the tax rate until they get the information they need from those meetings, so Madigan suggested extending the due date for taxes to give property owners time to understand their tax bill and pay it.

Asked why the Oct. 1 date isn’t being met anymore, Madigan said abatement requests and ongoing issues with the paper mill, which is in the process of being merged with Verso Paper, are requiring assessors to spend more time scrutinizing information to determine the tax rate.

“It’s something that’s out of our hands,” he said. “The assessors should be able to finalize their assessment after their Sept. 17 meeting with NewPage.”

Madigan said the taxable value townwide last year before the tax rate was set was $553,938,770, and this year, it’s $558,587,983. The town also got nine tax-acquired buildings this year that were abandoned, which is normal for Rumford.

Toward the end of the meeting, selectmen voted 5-0 that a critical circumstance existed, allowing discussion of changing the taxes’ due date “to give citizens ample time to digest their tax bill,” Selectmen Chairman Greg Buccina said.

He said Rumford has extended it to Nov. 1 before, although it was extended last year to Dec. 1, because people kept voting down the proposed municipal budget.

Buccina said he didn’t want to go with Dec. 1 because he didn’t want taxpayers to get hit with a tax bill so close to Christmas.

Selectman Jeff Sterling suggested Nov. 3 because Nov. 1 is a Saturday.

The board voted 5-0 for Nov. 3.

The board bumped its regular meeting on Thursday, Sept. 18, to Monday, Sept. 22. It will follow the special town meeting that day.

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