More in News
Spending cap ordinance removed from Rumford ballot
RUMFORD -- A proposed ordinance to establish a cap of $6.2 million on municipal spending isn't going on the June town meeting referendum ballot after all.
At last week's public hearing on proposed ordinances and amendments, selectmen unanimously approved placing the spending cap ordinance on the ballot, contingent on legal review.
That legal review came before selectmen at Tuesday night's second public hearing. The board voted 4-0 to approve town attorney Jennifer Kreckel's recommendation that the budgetary spending cap can only be accomplished by a charter change.
"The requested action goes directly to the budgetary powers and process of the charter," Kreckel wrote in her April 30 letter to Town Manager Carlo Puiia.
"Because the changes being requested in the document submitted to the select board last week will fundamentally change the budgetary process, it is my legal opinion that this change needs to be done as a revision of the town charter rather than by amendment," she said.
It can only be done by a charter commission, Kreckel said.
"The change proposed to the select board seeks to alter and limit the power of the town government and to institute a profound and fundamental change to the budgetary and voting process currently in our town charter," she said.
Because the legal review came in as such, Puiia said selectmen voted to support Kreckel's opinion, which nullified placing the spending cap ordinance on the warrant.
During discussion, it was mentioned that the mechanism is already in place for the citizens to reject budgets with the secret ballot.
That would require town officials to resubmit budget amounts and hold another secret ballot election.
A point was also raised that the secret ballot process was done in the past without a charter commission.
"The town attorney did say that at that time they could do that," Puiia said. "However, with what she has found out with case law now, that could be challenged."