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Finance Committee budget would fund GRCC, Black Mountain
RUMFORD -- Over the course of six hours last week, the Finance Committee created a new municipal budget recommendation of $7,171,500, which includes adding $118,000 in the Contingency Fund for the Greater Rumford Community Center and Black Mountain.
The total figure is a 5 percent cut from the earlier recommendation of $7,508,851 in the budget that town meeting referendum voters defeated on June 11. That vote also defeated the Board of Selectmen's initial municipal budget recommendation of $7,521,032.
The Board of Selectmen cut about 14 percent off their initial budget to present a second proposed budget of $6,526,077. The Finance Committee's new budget is $645,423 higher than the selectmen's second budget, giving voters a choice. Town Manager Carlo Puiia said the Finance Committee can only approve a bottom-line figure.
He said the intent of adding the monies to the Contingency Fund is to provide enough operations money for the Greater Rumford Community Center to get through the year and another $51,000 for Black Mountain Ski Resort operations.
The GRCC's initiated articles requests for funding and the ski hill's request, were defeated at the polls on June 11. There is no recourse, due to a previous charter change. The GRCC's operating budget of $138,100 was defeated 657-829, and its summer programs funding request of $22,720 was rejected by a tally of 607-845. Black Mountain's initiated article was defeated 497-939.
Puiia said the intent of the committee's debate was to restore funding to the GRCC and Black Mountain via the contingency account through the bidding process. According to Rumford's Charter, anything over $2,000 must be put out to bid.
It remains unclear just how the center and Black Mountain will try to get that money should voters approve the Finance Committee's budget recommendations next month.
Gary Dolloff, chairman of the Greater Rumford Community Center board of directors, who spoke at the Finance Committee meeting, said they are hopeful voters will consider this as this meet be vital if they are going to avoid closing their doors on Aug. 1.
Meanwhile, he said they are looking at applying for grants, and considering an option of a low-interest loan through the town's revolving loan program.
The GRCC is also doing fundraising. They have a co-ed one-pitch softball tournament slated for 9 a.m. on Thursday at the three fields across from Hosmer Field in Rumford. A donation of $200 per team is required. For more information about participating, call Nancy Volkernick at 240-1754 or Steph Gallant at 357-5536.
Dolloff said plans are also in the works for a teen street dance sometime during August.
A donation fund has been set up called "Save the GRCC." If you would like to help, send your check, payable to "Save the GRCC," c/o Bangor Savings Bank, P.O. Box 400, Rumford, ME.
Other Finance Committee recommendations for the new budget are:
* $799,080 for general government, down $62,184 from its initial number of $861,264.
* $761,274 for the Police Department, down $56,382 from its initial recommendation of $817,656.
* $687,877 for the Fire Department, down $36,950 from $724,827.
* $663,752 for public safety, down $27,131 from $690,883.
* $662,931 for health and sanitation, down $15,640 from $678,571.
* $969,910 for Public Works, down $165,059 from $1,134,969.
* $82,000 for General Assistance, down $1,137 from $83,137.
* $225,000 for Rumford Public Library, which is the same as the committee's initial recommendation in the defeated budget.
* $219,960 for public service, down $14,053 from its initial recommendation of $234,013.
* $148,685 for debt service and interest, down $8,000 from $156,685.
* $460,031 for capital accounts, down $51,115 from $511,146.
The only budget that the Finance Committee increased instead of decreased was unclassified accounts. The committee increased that by $100,300 to $1,491,000 from its initial recommendation of $1,390,700.
Meanwhile, the Board of Selectmen have set dates for two public hearings and a budget vote this month.
Public hearings will be held at 7 p.m. July 11 and 6 p.m. Thursday, July 18 in the Rumford Falls Auditorium, with the budget referendum vote slated for Tuesday, July 23 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., to be held in the American Legion hall, if available, or in the Rumford Falls Auditorium in the Legion hall is not available.