History is filled with examples of private sector and government business cycles of visionary growth, sustained growth, decline, sustained decline, visionary renewal, growth, etc.

Visionary growth and renewal require consistent attention by the “stakeholders” to ensure that critical success factors are identified and acted upon.

Simply put, management is the number one “success factor,” but only if they listen and communicate effectively with all stakeholders, including their respective peers. No one always has the best answer.

Rumford has enjoyed the best of its primary private sector business (paper products) for more than 110 years. Paper products were instrumental in creating a robust local economy, leading to the natural suggestion that increased property tax revenue would always support the growth and size of the municipal government service departments.

Unfortunately, when the decline phases for the paper mill arrived, Rumford administrators seemed to ignore the facts. That led to far less tax revenue, lost businesses, lost jobs, population decrease, neglected infrastructure and large, high cost service departments. Businesses and residents cannot sustain the burden of the 40 percent property tax increase.

Rumford will need a stakeholder (resident) commitment to engage the municipal government to create a more robust visionary renewal.

On June 12, residents have an opportunity to play a major role in the renewal. Selectboard candidates who have ideas, enthusiasm and the commitment to lower taxes through realistic, timed spending reductions and for introduction of revenue and job source businesses deserve support.

Len Greaney, Rumford Center

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