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Mexico, Rumford vote to move forward with municipal sharing proposal
MEXICO -- The Mexico and Rumford boards of selectmen unanimously voted on Sept. 24 to move forward with an inter-municipal proposal to share certain municipal services.
During a joint meeting on Sept. 4, selectmen of both towns approved a proposal from New Hampshire consultants Municipal Resources Inc., who said they would put together a comprehensive study of Rumford and Mexico to see if they could find areas they could consolidate services.
The approval was contingent on whether Municipal Resources Inc. would provide a list of references of towns that they've helped in the past.
Mexico Board of Selectmen Chairman Richie Philbrick said Municipal Resources Inc. submitted “a bunch of different references,” all of which were positive.
“It looks like these guys did a heck of a job in the towns they worked in,” Philbrick said, pointing out the town of Gloucester, MA, and how they wrote that they'd “have no reservations in recommending Municipal Resources Inc. for a job.”
“So far, I haven't heard anything bad from them,” Philbrick said. “Just a lot of good things.”
Rumford Selectman Brad Adley agreed with Philbrick, adding that he believes the towns “should keep moving forward.”
“I'm all in,” Adley said.
Mexico Selectman Reggie Arsenault said that by approving the proposal and allowing Municipal Resources Inc. to investigate the towns, it would “put something out there that's black and white that our citizens can look at and see that we're making strides towards regionalization.”
Rumford Selectman Jolene Lovejoy, however, pointed out that in an email from Don Jutton, president of Municipal Resources, to Rumford Town Manager Carlo Puiia, Jutton said that “very few communities have the political will” to implement the plans they have created.
“We can provide a limited number of small successes,” Jutton wrote, “but as I explained during my presentation, I am unaware of any successes of the magnitude that you are hoping for. It's all about political will and determination.”
Philbrick replied, “I agree with the letter. If we don't have the drive, it won't work. That's why we've got to keep pushing forward with this thing.”
“This is as close as we've ever been,” Adley said shortly after the vote. “It's a step in the right direction.”
Both Madigan and Puiia said they would attempt to contact Municipal Resources Inc. and see how soon they could begin putting together a plan.