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"It's a health hazard"
RUMFORD -- Mitzi Sequoia enjoys taking walks through Rumford and Mexico on these nice spring days, but she finds that she has to constantly dodge little piles of dog feces left on sidewalks.
At the May 17 meeting of the Board of Selectmen, Sequoia noted, "It's a health hazard. It's a serious problem that's getting out of hand. And it's not the little stuff. It's the big dog poop. I've even picked up feces from the Stone Church. It diminishes the beauty of the area."
Apparently the problem is not getting any better, despite the efforts of the town to ask people to use plastic bags to clean up after their animals. The problem was so bad that the Parks and Recreation Department recently voted to ban pets from the Hosmer Field Complex.
Sequoia recommended that the town consider placing dog waste stations at places around town, similar to the ones the Park's Department has placed near their walking trail.
Town Manager Carlo Puiia said the dog waste stations are something the town might consider in the future.
Selectman Jeff Sterling said they've done this in Bethel. However, he doesn't know if this was effective or not.
In other business, Puiia said there has been a misunderstanding among some people about the purpose of Tax Increment Financing. A TIF was approved recently for Gateway Plaza LLC, dba as Amato's. The agreement, a tax-increment financing plan, requires Gateway Plaza to pay percentages of its yearly tax for five years.
Taxes for year one (next year’s taxes) would be paid at 5 percent of normal rate, year two at 22 percent, year three at 40 percent, year four at 58 percent and year five at 76 percent. From year six and annually thereafter, the company would pay the full amount.
Noting that other communities do TIFs, which are done through the state Dept. of Economic Development, Puiia said this is an incentive to bring new development into town. While they do get an immediate tax break, in time, that business will be paying full taxation.
The new designated TIF districts and associated Omnibus Development Programs are:
* Gateway Area Municipal Development, which comprises 33 lots in 4.74 acres on or near Lincoln and Essex avenues and Hancock, Waldo and Cumberland streets. Selectmen would ultimately combine them into six to eight TIF districts when and if specific development proposals are presented. The new Amato's is located within this district.
* Puiia Business Park Municipal Development, which is 84.65 acres in Lot 131, Tax Map 12. This will be subdivided into smaller lots on Route 108.
Puiia noted that in the case of the business park, they could have something say that within five years, they could have it paved and put in power and have the TIF pay back that cost, so there will be no cost to the taxpayers.
* Rumford Falls Entryway, which comprises 30 lots in 131.88 acres on or near Prospect and Crescent avenues, Route 2 and Dragoon Road. It is within this area where a brand name hotel is to be built.
Anyone with questions about this program is encouraged to talk with Puiia in the town office.
Prior to the meeting, a public hearing was held on the town budget.
Puiia said that when people receive their tax bill, it will reflect that 50 percent of the monies will go for municipal services (police, fire, roads, park's, library, etc.), 45 percent to education, 3 percent to the county, and 2 percent to initiated articles.
Recently, selectmen approved the annual town meeting warrant that includes a proposed $7,423,500 municipal budget and several ordinances. The proposed budget is the result of higher fuel and insurance costs, and a board decision to include additional money in several capital reserve accounts. This year's municipal budget is up from this year's $6,849,208.
Most of the decisions will be made through a referendum ballot that goes before voters from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 12 at the American Legion Hall.
On that ballot, voters will act on 12 money articles, 26 initiated articles, and eight ordinance amendments. Charter and ordinance proposals include:
* Regulating use and sale of fireworks.
* Regulating domestic animals.
* Allowing selectmen to enter into multi-year contracts and grants.
* Amending the hawkers and peddlers, and taxi cab license regulations.
* Changing the dates for filing nomination papers.
* Adopting a Property Assessed Clean Energy ordinance that would allow low-interest loans for energy-saving projects.
* Exempting active duty military personnel who are residents of Rumford from excise taxes.
* Authorizing a Charter Commission.
* Providing a nonbinding opinion on whether to extend Lincoln Avenue.
At the business meeting at 7 p.m. on June 4 at Mountain Valley High School, residents will act on salaries for many municipal officials, decide whether to join with neighboring Mexico for the purchase of a ladder truck and approve the annual municipal report.