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Joint board meeting Wednesday
MEXICO/RUMFORD -- A joint meeting of selectmen from Mexico and Rumford will take place Wednesday for a discussion about municipal joint services and projects.
The public meeting will get underway at 6:30 p.m. in the Rumford Falls Auditorium.
Mexico Town Manager John Madigan said it will include acting on a proposal to share in the cost of hiring a consultant to develop a plan to merge services. The cost of a regionalization/consolidation study by Municipal Resources, Inc. of Meredith, NH would be $24,000.
The boards will also continue discussions regarding working with a company to bring natural gas to the two communities.
In a two-hour session with the boards earlier this year, Don Jutton, president of Municipal Resources, Inc., in doing quick research on the numbers, noted, "Mexico and Rumford are very similar in that you both lost 10 to 12 percent of your population between 2000 and 2010. You both have a very low median housing income of about $27,000. You're both getting older; Rumford's median age is 45 and Mexico is 44, which is very old as New England's median is 36. noting that "you're going to be forced to do something because you can't afford to pay the taxes you have."
At that meeting, Madigan said, "What has to be emphasized is that both towns for 100 years have had their eggs in one basket -- the mill. For the future, we have to look at the real demographics of the whole area. We're really one whole community in the River Valley. The further you go out, the more resources you have, and you stand a better chance if you lose one of those resources. And as a region, you have a lot more clout in Augusta."
Rumford Town Manager Carlo Puiia talked about the emotion of doing something with combining or sharing services.
"Everybody is very territorial. It's a challenge, it's an obstacle, but it's not insurmountable. I think it's up to all of us as leaders in our community to put it before the citizens, bring them the best information we can. It's still up to them. Speaking for the town I work in, I think this community does have the will and courage. I don't think they're afraid of anything. It's just a matter of answering those tough questions."