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Effort to grow Rumford
RUMFORD -- Described as "a way to grow Rumford," selectmen voted unanimously Thursday to begin a process to establish three tax-incremented financing (TIF) districts.
The vote also voted 4-0 to seek bids to hire a consultant to complete necessary TIF work for the districts. Selectman Mark Belanger was absent.
Town Manager Carlo Puiia introduced both topics, saying economic development is now knocking on the town's door and “it's a lengthy process and we want to get our ducks in a row.”
A TIF is a locally-controlled economic development financing program that is funded by property taxes on the development project. By sheltering a new taxable value, the majority of the money wouldn't go to RSU 10 and Oxford County assessments and neither would the town lose state revenue sharing.
The three areas that should be designated at TIF areas was first discussed by selectmen at an economic development meeting.
These are the Puiia Business Park off Route 108, the Gateway area on Waldo, Cumberland and Falmouth streets near Hannaford, and the Route 2 corridor in East Rumford.
Selectman Jeremy Volkernick noted, “Basically, I feel it's very crucial that this board acts on it, because everybody's fighting for businesses and I want Rumford right at the top of the line. Rumford needs to get up with the times. It's a way to grow Rumford."
Board Chairman Brad Adley said, "This is another tool in our toolbox."
Puiia estimated the cost to establish the work for a comprehensive multi-district TIF to be between $7,000 and $12,000. He said the work should be completed by the end of May.
He said that more TIF areas can be designated later.
"This is the groundwork in preparation for a proposal to go to people," said Puiia, noting that the 30-year duration of a TIF area begins after people have voted on it.
In other business, selectmen voted 4-0 to discontinue using the Maine State Planning Office model they were working at alter to fit the town needs. The action follows a workshop the Sunday prior when the board review a new wind ordinance proposal.
With the current moratorium on wind projects expiring on May 26, some who served on the committee who defeated the ordinance defeated last November suggested they instead work from and change desired sections of that already reviewed ordinance.
Selectman Jeff Sterling took that initiative and reduced the defeated 41-page ordinance to a 28-page proposal, removing some sections altogether and altering other language and distances.
He said he tried to simplify the document so voters could better understand it, adding that he also based changes on previous board discussions, past meetings with a state environmental protection engineer, Rumford's site plan review law and wind ordinances from other towns.
Selectmen voted to hold a special selectperson's meeting at 6 p.m. on May 4 in the auditorium to continue work on the wind power ordinance.
A charter revision meeting will take place at 6 p.m. on May 12 in the auditorium.
Discussed will be a proposal to allow selectmen to amend the town charter twice a year instead of once. Maine law allows towns with charters to make one charter change per year, unless otherwise specified in the town charter.
Puiia's proposal would allow the board to amend the charter at the board's June meeting and in November.
That gives residents a chance to vote on the amendments at two regular elections: town meeting in June and the November referendum.
Selectmen will discuss the proposal and decide whether to place it on the June town meeting ballot.
If voters then approve the amendment, Puiia said that if something arises after the June election, selectmen could amend the charter in November without declaring a critical circumstance exists.
The board will also hold a budget hearing at 6 p.m. on May 5, prior to their regular meeting, to amend the budgets for economic development, the parks and recreation department, and the assessor's department.
Puiia said he erred when presenting the assessor budget in that he should have recommended a bottom line figure instead of taking items line by line. That, he said, is the Board of Assessors' job and not his.
He had also recommended raising no money for the economic development account, but with new development prospects looming, the account now needs money, he said.
The other budget involves a misunderstanding, he said, over a contractual agreement with RSU 10 that needs to be remedied in the selectmen's recommendation.
Puiia emphasized once again that the town while this is the time of year for the annual spring cleanup, the town is not picking up items curbside to go to the transfer station.
"Some people are already placing their throwaways out to the curb. We've placed a few ads in the paper. People keep getting confused. They hear we're having spring cleanup. Our transfer station will accept any waste you want to transport down there yourself that last week of April to the first week of May at no charge. The Town of Rumford public works will not be picking up old couches and chairs, appliances or any debris placed curbside. So if you see a neighbor or someone who has done that, give them a heads up."
Selectmen approved buying a new six-cylinder Dodge Charger police cruiser by accepting Bessey Motors' bid of $20,994 and trading in the old Ford Crown Victoria cruiser that it's replacing.
Puiia said the town recently received the results of their worker's compensation audit, and the town is getting a refund of $13,727, which is more than 13 percent back from what they paid in.
Selectmen gave approve of a liquor license application and a special amusement permit for the Barnboard Tavern, under the new ownership of Mike McCarthy.