RUMFORD — A public hearing for Rumford and Mexico residents will be held next week on a June referendum that asks voters whether they want the Oxford County Sheriff’s Department to provide police coverage or their own police departments.

The hearing will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, April 20, at Mountain Valley High School’s Muskie Auditorium.

Since September 2013, the towns’ officials have been looking at ways to consolidate services and save money. They hired Municipal Resources, a consulting company from New Hampshire, which said both towns could save money by merging.

In November 2014, Sheriff Wayne Gallant presented a two-year contract proposal to serve both towns. He said it would cost the towns more than $1.3 million for the first year and $1.18 million the second year. The proposal would provide 12 deputies to cover both towns.

Afterward, Rumford police Chief Stacy Carter and Mexico police Chief Roy Hodsdon presented a proposal to combine departments and work out of the Mexico police station, which is more spacious than Rumford’s station. Carter and Hodsdon said merging departments would cost $1.38 million and provide 15 officers. Rumford has 12 and Mexico has five.

On April 6, selectmen from both towns voted 6-3 to place the two options on the June referendum ballot.

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