MEXICO — The Rumford and Mexico boards of selectmen will meet with the police unions from both towns at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 21, at the Rumford Falls Auditorium to discuss the possibility of merging the police departments.

The meeting was organized following a joint board meeting Jan. 7 when Rumford and Mexico selectmen debated the difference in police wages and benefits between the two towns.

Some Mexico selectmen objected to Rumford’s wages for its police officers, saying Mexico taxpayers would not be able to afford them if the departments merged.

Mexico Selectman Albert Aniel told Rumford selectmen he would only consider merging the departments if a fair cost-sharing formula was created.

“I can’t tell my townspeople that we’re going to merge police departments if it’s going to cost us more money than if we had our own police department,” Aniel said at a December 2014 joint board meeting. “We just can’t afford to meet Rumford’s wages.”

Town Manager John Madigan reminded both boards that the only way the boards could discuss adjusting wages for either town is if they reopened negotiations with the police unions.

Rumford Selectman Frank DiConzo said he believes both towns should meet with the Rumford and Mexico union representatives to discuss renegotiating their contracts so both towns could effectively merge departments.

Executive Secretary Terri Palmer said the meeting will be open to the public.

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