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Finance Committee's turn at budget
RUMFORD -- The Board of Selectmen recently recommended a budget that essentially is flat funded. Now it's the Finance Committee's turn.
Town Manager Carlo Puiia said selectmen will be presenting their municipal budget to the Finance Committee on Wednesday, prior to a 7 p.m. budget hearing by the Finance Committee, when they will hear presentations from the fire, police and public works, as well as the code enforcement officer and the parks department. A second budget hearing will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday when they will hear presentations from town government, the library and the rest of the departments.
Puiia said ordinance hearings will take place at 7 p.m. on April 19 and April 26. These sessions provide an opportunity for people to propose an ordinance or to recommend the elimination of a current ordinance for the upcoming annual town meeting in June.
In other business, Puiia said that according to the U.S. Census, the population in Rumford is now 5,841, which is down 631 from 10 years ago.
Among the 10 towns of the River Valley, he said the population is now 16,721, down from 15,736 a decade ago.
The board, at their meeting Thursday, voted not to change a section of York Street to one-way traffic. Doing so, the town may have jeopardized an $80,000 federal Safe Roads to School grant.
At issue was a Maine Department of Transportation recommendation after the grant was awarded. The recommendation was to change the traffic flow for the addition of a sidewalk for schoolchildren through the section from Maine to Oxford avenues to Rumford Elementary School.
Additional sidewalks via the grant are also planned around three sides of the old Stephens High School lot on Essex and Oxford avenues and York Street.
Laurie Soucy, Regional School Unit 10's health coordinator, wrote the grant three years ago on behalf of the town to prevent children from walking in the street.
While conceding that he didn't want to lose the federal Safe Roads to School grant, Selectman Greg Buccina said he also didn't want to create traffic hazards on nearby streets should the 26-foot-wide street section be reduced to one-way traffic.
Selectmen then voted 4-1 on Buccina's motion against changing the traffic pattern. Chairman Brad Adley dissented.
“That is not what is happening here, but he says it may jeopardize the project because of a request to change the scope of the project. In other words, if there was not a sidewalk installed in that section, that changes the scope of the project,” he said.
Puiia said MDOT recommended that the town change the traffic pattern after learning the street's reduced width with the addition of sidewalk during its design process. The affected section would be too narrow for two-way traffic.