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Returning soldier presented with shield
RUMFORD -- Last fall, Arthur Boivin and American Legion Post 24 Auxiliary combined in an effort to place large patriotic-colored shields on lampposts along Congress Street as a show of support for local soldiers deployed overseas.
Boivin said that as those deployed return home, their shield would be taken down and presented to them by the town manager and selectmen. One such ceremony was held at the start of the Board of Selectmen's meeting last Thursday.
Following the pledge of allegiance, soldier Matthew Noyes and his mother, Claire Simpson approached the front of the selectmen's table while Boivin and members of the American Legion lined up to one side of the table.
Simpson then presented the shield to her son, followed by a hug, then said, "I'd like to say thank you to Arthur Boivin for being responsible for putting the plaques put up for our vets in Rumford, and to the Legion Auxiliary for being supportive of our veterans while they were overseas and sending packages that certainly made a big difference in their days. I'm honored to be here tonight to present the plaque to my son, Matthew Noyes."
Noyes, who returned Dec. 2 from a yearlong tour of duty in Afghanistan, said, "I just want to say thank you to everybody, the women in the Legion Auxiliary. I came to this town in 2003 and over the past few years, I've felt really welcome here. This is just a good indication of all the support everyone in Rumford has given me. I appreciate everything, especially all the hard work the Legion and Arthur Boivin have put into these plaques."
Following the ceremony, Selectman Jeff Sterling noted, "I wish we could open all our meetings this way."
Town Manager Carlo Puiia then said, "Thank you Matt Noyes for your service to our country."
Noyes came to Rumford to become a member of the town's police force. He now works for the Oxford County Sheriff's Office.
Regarding the shields, Boivin cut and painted each shield at his house, using marine plywood donated by Mexico Fire Chief Gary Wentzell. Then Auxiliary members hand-painted the names of deployed military personnel across the shield's center.
The shields are modeled after one atop the Rumford fire station from the Operation Desert Storm deployment in the early 1990s.
In other business, in response to an earlier question posed by a selectman, Steve Brown, president of Med-Care's Board of Directors, made an information-only presentation explaining how Med-Care Ambulance Service determines the town's subsidy assessment based on a state-estimated population.
Earlier, selectmen learned Rumford's assessment was increasing from $16 per capita to $18 per capita for a total of $105,264.
It's an increase of $12,384 over the current assessment, which ends on June 30 and is based on Rumford's population estimated at 6,192. The new assessment is figured at $16 per capita for Jan. 1 to June 30, or $49,536, and $18 per capita for July 1 to Dec. 31, or $55,728.
As for the question regarding how they chose the population figure, Brown said the Maine Office of Data, Research and Vital Statistics determines town populations based on a Municipal Revenue Sharing Distributions formula that uses birth and death certificates, car registrations and school populations. The population estimates are needed in the years between release of actual U.S. Census numbers.
Rumford's population was estimated at 6,192 as of July 1, 2008. Population estimates for the 10 other towns that run and are served by Med-Care are: Andover, 917; Byron, 137; Canton, 1,101; Carthage, 502; Dixfield, 2,582; Hanover, 305; Mexico, 2,881; Newry, 367; Peru, 1,575; and Roxbury, 391.
Brown added that the state estimates of town populations will always be outdated by a year, because they're using birth and death certificates from the prior two years.
Board Chairman Brad Adley asked about the reason for the $2 per capita increase this year.
Brown responded, “We figure what our best estimates are for costs to run the ambulance service, what revenues will be taken in, the projected number of calls, and then the adjustments in the Medicaid/Medicare reimbursements, which for the most part have been favorable."
He added that the call volume had dropped off, but this picked up this past year. Also figured into the budget is just over $80,000 to cover expenses that may come along for the new facility project.
Brown said town subsidies cover 17 percent of Med-Care's 2011 budget, while the other 83 percent is paid by patient revenues and fees that are charged and collected. He said the overall population of the towns they serve fluctuates around 17,000, so $1 per capita generates $17,000.
Med-Care's 2011 budget is about $1.7 million.
Selectman Greg Buccina, noting that the per capita was increased the prior year as well, said the costs never seem to decrease.
Brown responded, “We hope we're getting there as the business stabilizes here, and the number of calls that we have and revenues. Our rates are determined primarily by Medicare and private insurance rates.”
He noted that Med-Care is obligated to respond if it gets calls.
“We're not asking how are you going to pay for this or can you; we have to go, and there are some patients that can't pay and that's where some of the subsidy money goes,” Brown said. “If we were paid everything we charge, of course we'd be self sufficient.”
Selectman Jeremy Volkernick said he procured a copy of "Winds of Change," a documentary shown on MPBN for viewing over the next couple of weeks on local access channel 7. For the times, view the schedule on the WVAC screen.
"In my opinion, this shows the pros and cons about wind power," he said.
Regarding the Rumford wind power issue, Volkernick said, "I'm looking to have two particular things put before the voters in the Town of Rumford. I feel that the citizens of this town should have a right to vote on their choices. We cannot discuss it this evening, but I can put it on the agenda and I will put it on the agenda for the next selectmen's meeting to review the Rumford ordinance to have this placed on the agenda along with the ordinance the selectmen are working on at this time."
Buccina said he has received several calls from people regarding several near misses at the Lincoln and Waldo Street intersection, particularly near Hannaford's. He suggested maybe a flashing red light and to raise awareness and maybe discuss the situation with the Maine Dept. of Transportation.
Returning from his deployment in Afghanistan, soldier Matthew Noyes thanked the American Legion Post 24 and Arthur Boivin after being presented a large patriotic-colored shield at the start of the Rumford Board of Selectmen's meeting Thursday. To his left is his mother, Claire Simpson, who had the honor of presenting her son with the shield. (Times photo by Bruce Farrin)