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Town to apply for $300K CDBG grant
RUMFORD -- Voters approved a Community Development Block Grant application for not more than $300,000 during a special town meeting held on Oct. 20.
The measure, passed with only a dozen citizens in attendance, also authorizes selectmen to accept such funds, provided the grant doesn't require matching funds from the town, which it doesn't. That's because the $30,000 match will be supplied by Community Concepts.
Rumford is applying for a CDBG Housing Assistance Grant to help bring buildings into compliance with current code requirements, with restoration of historical buildings and with lead abatement.
Phil Blampied, a member of the town Economic Development Committee, said this would be the second housing assistance grant. These are competitive grants but the state prefers that these grants go to a town with a successful track record with a grant.
Therefore, he concluded, "The odds are good we can get this."
Blampied said the town was awarded their first $200,000 CDBG housing assistant grant in 2008, with a $20,000 town match. He said the state added $50,000 to it "because they liked what we were doing.”
Blampied said the town decided to enforce a rather strict wording of the fire code with landlords in town and were proposing they spend $30,000 to $40,000 on repairs to meet the new fire code requirements.
“We got the grant, which would allow those landlords willing to do so, to receive money to help pay for those fire code upgrades if they matched the money 50-50. In other words, if they got $8,000 to help them meet these upgrades, they would have to come up with $8,000 of their own," said Blampied.
The second part of the grant was to aid low- to moderate-income residents of Strathglass Park complete necessary repairs to preserve that historical asset.
He said participating landlords added about $80,000 and Community Concepts added additional funding. Overall, the grant also provided significant employment for local contractors.
Blampied said the first grant not only helped owners of about dozen properties, but also employed local contractors.
A second warrant item was also approved. This was to accept the 2009-10 town audit. Voters approved the town report at the annual business meeting in June, with the exception of the town audit.
That and a prior audit completed by Harold Blake of Hallowell had to be reviewed by a licensed auditor after it was learned that Blake's license to conduct municipal audits was in dispute.
Auditor Ron Smith of Buxton was hired to review the audits, which he did and told selectmen in August that the town's finances were “rock solid.”
Two other articles on the Nov. 8 warrant were discussed for information.
One was the proposed wind energy facilities ordinance, the third time selectmen have tried to get an ordinance passed.
The purpose of this ordinance is to establish standards for the construction of and operation of wind energy facilities. The ordinance requires applicants to submit an application and site plan to the Planning Board, public hearing and a review and approval of the Planning Board. It also contains minimum standards for noise, setbacks and shadow flicker, as well as other measurements. There are also provisions for decommissioning a wind energy facility.
The complete text for the proposed ordinance is on file in the town clerk's office, or can be viewed online at the town's website.
The second was a proposed charter amendment to allow the town auditor, town attorney, town code enforcement officer, town plumbing inspector and town sealer of weights and measures be non-residents to be appointed to those positions. This amendment would eliminate the reqirement that a non-resident appointment can only be made when there is no one qualified living in town to fill those positions.