RUMFORD — The Charter Commission met with town attorney Jennifer Kreckel on Tuesday evening to ask for clarification on certain charter revisions.

The commission asked Kreckel how the charter should be revised to avoid any issues with future interlocal agreements or consolidation efforts between Rumford and other communities.

“It’s been one of our major goals to make sure that the charter doesn’t interfere with consolidation,” Charter Commission Chairman Chris Brennick said. “We just want to make sure that, if we do enter into an interlocal agreement with Mexico, the charter doesn’t need to be revised.”

Kreckel said that interlocal agreements have to be voted on by the people of the town, just like they voted on any charter changes.

“It really depends on what the interlocal agreement says,” Kreckel said. “You may have to amend the charter a little bit, to make sure it’s in line with the agreement, but I’m not sure that you can do anything to the charter to make it easier for an interlocal agreement to be drafted.”

Kreckel added that if the town drafted an interlocal agreement and residents approved it, they could go back to the charter after and change whatever needs to be tweaked.

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“You also need to make sure the charter is worded in a way so that we still have our own government structure in place,” Kreckel said. “I suspect that if people voted to support an interlocal agreement, then they would hopefully vote for whatever charter amendments have to be made to make sure they reflect the interlocal agreement.”

Kreckel acknowledged it wasn’t a complete answer and apologized, but said there was no good way to address the issue.

“I think as long as you put together a charter that reflects us being independent and then make revisions if you need to, you’ll be all set,” she said.

In other business, Brennick asked Kreckel how the town would implement a spending cap in the charter.

“We’ve floated a couple of different ideas around on this,” Brennick said. “What we wanted, as a commission, wasn’t necessarily a hard-and-fast spending cap, but a mechanism that would allow voters to activate a spending cap.”

Kreckel asked Brennick how he was envisioning the mechanism to work.

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Brennick replied that the commission wasn’t sure yet.

Commission member Kevin Saisi said that he wanted to make sure that if a mechanism to active a budget cap were included in charter, it would only affect the following budget cycle.

“It could be bad if you were in the middle of approving a budget, and after the people approve the budget, they also approve a budget cap,” Saisi said. “If they did that, where would the budget stand? I think by making the budget cap kick in the following budget cycle, the budget you just created isn’t adversely affected, and when the town makes the next budget, they know the limitation is already in place.”

Kreckel said that the major issue in adding a budget cap to the charter is making sure that a mechanism is in place to activate it, such as a petition.

Another question posed by the commission was whether the charter should include language addressing interim town managers.

“I definitely think you should put something in there,” Kreckel said. “That was one of the things that came up in 2013, after the town manager resigned. There was nothing in the charter that actually covers that situation, and there’s nothing in any of the ordinances that covers that situation. It’s not prohibited, but if you wanted to make it clearer, and have a mechanism for it, you should include some language in the charter.”

The charter commission agreed at their Dec. 16 meeting to meet at 6 p.m. every Tuesday until March 2 in order to put the final touches on their revisions to the town’s charter.

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