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Citizens shoot down fireworks moratorium
RUMFORD -- A move by the Board of Selectmen for a six-month moratorium on consumer fireworks was shot down by citizens attending a special town meeting on the matter Thursday evening.
Following a lengthy discussion from residents, the decision on the moratorium was defeated by 19-11. Selectmen sought the moratorium as they work on drafting an ordinance on fireworks, likely to be voted on by citizens at the referendum town meeting next June.
Town Manager Carlo Puiia said Friday that the vote against a moritorium will not change that, nor will it hasten the process for an ordinance, unless the use of fireworks becomes more problematic such as fire issues.
He said it was evident that the majority of citizens at the special town meeting did not want to give up their right when to use fireworks. There was also the suggestion made that fireworks require a permit before using them.
The board will take into account the comments made at Thursday's meeting as they continue work on an ordinance. Such an ordinance will also have to take into account other issues discussed earlier -- nuisance complaints, debris, abutters, those with pets, small children, veterans with post traumatic stress, etc.
Puiia said other Maine communities are also dealing with issues involving fireworks. Some have looked at classifying them like burn permits, which would ban during times of fire danger.
"It's going to be an interesting discussion," he said, adding that selectmen will likely have workshop discussion(s) that will allow public input, as well as including the concerns of the police and fire chiefs.
In 2011, Maine repealed the fireworks ban and allowed municipalities to propose their own ordinances for fireworks.
In Rumford last June, citizens voted 648-397 in favor to allow personal use of fireworks, but requiring retail outlets to be permitted by the town.
During the regular meeting that followed, Police Chief Stacy Carter reviewed all the bids received for two detective vehicles and recommended acceptance of the bid from Rowe Auburn for the civilian model 2013 Ford Taurus. That measure was approved by selectmen. That price is $21,377, less $3,500 and $3,600 for two trade-in Impalas with 96,000 and 80,000 miles.
The board also heard a presentation on economic development services by Matthew Eddy, and another from Tom Smith on the Property-Assessed Clean Energy program. It allows property owners to borrow money to pay for energy improvements.