RUMFORD — After a lengthy discussion, selectmen voted 3-1 Thursday to approve the purchase of a new loader for Public Works.

The equipment is a 2018 Volvo L90H wheel loader from Chadwick-Baross, which submitted the lowest of three bids. The cost was $174,000, less than the trade-in value of the town’s 2007 Case loader, according to Public Works Director Mike Mills.

Selectman Jim Windover, who cast the lone no vote, said he received a call from a company representative whose company was not afforded the opportunity to bid. He added that this person also visited the highway garage to see the 2007 Case loader and would have offered more in trade-in value.

As a result, Windover wanted to see another round of bids, with this company included.

Board Chairman Chris Brennick said the town is sticking with its bid policy and would not be going out to bid again.

Mills, new to his position, said he was using an existing bid list but said he would expand the bid offering in the future if that was the wish of the board.

Selectman Mark Belanger questioned the need to trade the Case loader. 

Referring to the Case loader, Mills said, “It’s junk.”

Belanger asked, “Why is our equipment not taken care of better?”

Mills responded, “We’re changing the way we’re doing things.”

Town Manager Linda-Jean Briggs affirmed that. “There have been many changes in the way we operate and will continue to operate.”

In other business:

* The board was deadlocked 2-2 on approving a commercial lawn mower bid for the Parks Department. Selectman Jim Theriault was absent. The bid involved the trade-in of a 2012 commercial lawn mower that Mills, also the superintendent of parks, said would require at least $11,000 in repairs.

Briggs said the replacement was part of the five-year capital plan for Public Works. She later added that this would probably be brought up again.

* Briggs said the town is looking for its oldest citizen. She asked for help in this search. People can contact the town at 364-4576.

* Fire Chief Bob Chase said a local ordinance makes it unlawful to push snow around fire hydrants and call boxes. “If you can keep these clear of snow, it’ll be safer for you and your neighbors.”

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