RUMFORD — Voters on Tuesday easily approved all budget articles, setting a $9.81 million spending plan for 2020-21. It’s 4.25% more than for 2019-20.

“It’s a pretty solid budget, to provide the services that we do, to increase the aesthetics and the safety of our highways and infrastructure, which will attract business,” Town Manager Stacy Carter said. “And the way to fix the budget is to increase our tax base.”

There is an emphasis on Public Works this fiscal year, he said.

“Last year, during a transition of leadership with the department, there were things that didn’t get done,” he said. “This year, we’re catching up and doing a lot of road maintenance in different areas and looking at our five-year plan and what it takes to fix the roads that are in need.”

Carter said Prospect Avenue, which is one of the worst roads in town, will be a major project next summer. “We’re coordinating with the water district on time and material as they need to replace water lines.”

The town had originally planned to improve Prospect Avenue this year, but it didn’t fit the schedule of the water district. It will be done in three sections over three years. “Probably only half of it is in real bad shape that needs to be fixed,” he said.

Initiated articles are up nearly 30%, at $277,039. Carter said most of that increase is due to a one-time request by the Greater Rumford Community Center to raise $60,403 for a fire alarm system.

Voters appropriated $8,500 for a Fourth of July fireworks display. Money budgeted for 2020 will carry forward to 2021 because the show was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a nonbinding vote of 921-451, voters indicated support for the creation of a regional recreational center.

Carter also spoke about other developments underway, including the $5.5 million Best Western Plus Inn and Suites. The three-story hotel at 50 Prospect Ave. will feature 12 suites, an indoor pool and a hot tub, a fitness room and a meeting room.

Another he mentioned was the $7.1 million project to replace water and sewer lines on The Island business district.

“The hotel, from its inception, has sparked a lot of interest in the downtown,” he said. “Getting the downtown project completed will only enhance that interest.

“I really expect we’re going to have a good year this year and next year,” Carter said.

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