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Hearing for one-way traffic
RUMFORD -- A proposal to change a section of York Street by Rumford Elementary School to one-way only will be determined following a public hearing and subsequent vote by the Board of Selectmen.
On Thursday, selectmen voted to schedule a public hearing at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 17, with the board to vote on the measure at their regular meeting that follows.
The town has received monies from a federal Safe Routes to School Grant to place a new sidewalk by the Rumford Elementary School.
At a previous meeting, Public Works Administrator Andy Russell told the board, "We need to identify the process of changing one section of York Street, from Maine Avenue to Oxford Avenue, to a one-way street, because when you put the new sidewalk into the street, we don't have room to go behind the curbing. We're going to have to come in front of it, so it will make the road a lot narrower than what it is now. It will be safer if it's a one-way street."
The problem with York Street is that it intersects with the side hill of Maine Avenue.
“It does not have the best field of vision to exit onto the hill, so I think changing it to one way will improve our safety overall,” said Town Manager Carlo Puiia.
"The big thing for us is that to do the job correctly and make it safe, they (Maine Dept. of Transportation) would like us to change this to a one-way street," he said.
Puiia said six homes would be impacted, meaning that they could no longer exit York Street on Maine Avenue, but would have to go up Oxford Avenue and back down Penobscot if heading towards the (downtown) Island.
"We're trying to put the pieces in place so that can take place this summer," he said.
In other business, selectmen authorized the establishment of a library improvement committee.
Puiia recommended a five-person committee, consisting of two members and an alternate from the Rumford Public Library Board of Trustees, and three people from the public at large to be appointed by selectmen.
He said their task will include discussing needed improvements and then prioritizing addressing them by creating short- and long-term goals. The committee also needs to explore funding options to make this happen.
Library Trustee Carolyn Kennard said, "It's important that we make the repairs and that we make them soon...Do the best we can with money we hopefully can generate through grants and tax dollars."
Last year, selectmen settled years of discussion to either relocate or expand the current library, and then residents at town meeting followed suit, directing selectmen to make necessary improvements. Issues that need to be resolved involve an elevator, sewer and electrical systems, and installing energy efficient lighting.
After some discussion, selectmen voted to make a non-union employee wage adjustment for the 2011-12 budget with a 2 percent bonus rather than an increase in pay. The town gave a 2 percent wage increase last year.
Selectmen learned that Med-Care Ambulance is increasing the assessment from $16 per capita to $18 per capita for 2011-12.
Puiia said the increase, totalling $12,384, will be effective July 1, 2011. It is based on a population of 6,192 for Rumford.
Board members asked Puiia to question how Med-Care came up with that population figure. Puiia added that he has asked Dean Milligan, director of operations/chief of service for Med-Care, to make a presentation at an upcoming meeting of selectmen.
Belanger noted that the assessment also increased by $2 per capita last year.
Approved was the low bid of $7,100 from Industrial Protective Services for fire gear. Fire Chief Bob Chase said this need for several new call-force firefighters as well as replacing outdated gear. The increase in the call force is due to recruitment efforts along with two junior firefighters who are now on the call force.
Puiia led a discussion regarding limitations at MDOT's Route 2 rest area, located across from Sam's.
He said the vendors have set up in the rest area for years, which was intended as a place for tractor trailers to stop at when they stopped at Sam's or the grocery store across the road.
However, because the vendors occupied the space, there were times the tractor trailers had to park along the side of the road, which created a safety issue.
Puiia said MDOT can cite people who are using the rest area to sell products. He said no action by the board is necessary, but he is working with a couple of vendors who had been regulars in that rest area to find an alternate location.
In looking at the Charter, Puiia told selectmen he discovered that the town hasn't followed its Initiated Articles requirements law. Only elected and appointed town officers and qualified town voters can make requests for donations through Initiated Articles.
Should the town start following its own law, agencies wanting donations would have to have these required people make their requests.