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Rumford hires utility firefighter
RUMFORD -- Selectmen unanimously approved a recommendation Thursday by Fire Chief Bob Chase to appoint former Farmington firefighter Scott Baxter as a utility firefighter.
Chase said it would save the town $2,719 in overtime costs annually and provide a fourth man in the station when he's not filling in for others out on vacation or sick time. It would also afford sending firefighters to training without incurring overtime costs.
The measure is contingent upon Baxter passing the physical. He would be relocating to this area.
In other business, the board heard an update from Public Works Superintendent Andy Russell on the Prospect Avenue Sewer Repair project. He also said that the Maine Department of Environmental Protection has decided not to penalize the town for sewage that was inadvertently pumped on a neighbor's property at the start of the project.
The work site needed to be stabilized to protect workers and groundwater pumped out, forcing Russell to hire outside contractors.
Russell said the total cost of the project was $289,000, which will come out of the capital reserve under the sewer account.
He noted that they are also looking to implement an operation maintenance plan in case this kind of thing should happen again.
Russell will return to a future board meeting and provide an itemized cost for the project to repair a broken sewer pipe and manhole that took much longer than usual, because it was within a huge aquifer.
The ladder/pumper truck purchased by Rumford and Mexico has arrived. Chase said the truck tested okay and training is now underway. The goal is to have it placed in service in a week or so.
The truck has also been lettered, which includes the patches from Rumford and Mexico fire departments on the doors and on each side of the ladder, along with an American flag and the words, "United We Stand."
Board Chairman Greg Buccina announced that as a result of a discussion between the town manager, police and school officials, "We are putting some more surveillance around the Hancock Street area when school starts and when school gets out. A lady called me today and asked me to thank the police department for the step up."
"Sgt. Higley went up to the school department and talked to school staff and Dr. Tom Ward. They talked to the bus drivers and everybody involved about slowing down around school times, to and from school," he said. "Just slow down and be cautious. School's in session. Let's just be safe."
Following an executive session, selectmen authorized Town Manager Carlo Puiia to draft a letter of support from the town to Bangor Natural Gas Co.
Puiia said Bangor Natural Gas General Manager Jerry Livengood sought support from the board for a project to bring natural gas lines into Rumford for commercial and residential use, adding that it's still speculative, but it could happen next year or within the next five years.