Rumford’s future lies in the balance
To the Editor:
Contrary to what some may believe, the citizens of Rumford went to the polls on June 11 knowing exactly how they wanted to vote. They came out in large numbers. No one dragged them there, and no one went into the voting booth with them.
Four initiated articles received funding from the town which proves that they did not take their ballots and vote "no" across the board. To elude to the fact that they were zombies or just plain stupid is insulting to say the least. Further, they understood that the future of NewPage/Rumford would depend on whether or not the mil rate would be reduced.
The Board of Selectmen did lower the budgets, but did so in such a way that some of the cuts would inflict discomfort on those who dared to vote "no." Sadly, the finance board did not heed the clear message from the electorate. Not only are their newly recommended budget figures not much different than the original figures proposed on June 11, but they also had the nerve to spit in the faces of the electorate.
Monies were added for Black Mountain and GRCC in Article 12 under contingency funds. This is highly misleading as the ballot will not specify what the monies will be used for, and the bid process proposed by the board of selectmen is a farce. This money will be doled out with no strings attached to Black Mountain and GRCC.
To be clear, I am not against these entities. My concern is that they are skirting the democratic process and going against the will of the people. A vote is a vote! It is this type of abuse that has prompted the proposed spending cap ordinance of $6.2 million.
The selectmen's recommendation of $6.5 million is closet to the cap, and while it is not ideal, it is a start in the right direction. This all boils down to the future of Rumford and the viability of local businesses including NewPage.
Imagine what would happen to this town if the mill would close. It would have a tsunami effect on everyone, especially the financial institutions. Ask any of them about the problems they would face should people start defaulting on their homes, vehicles, etc. The impact on the entire town would be devastating.
I invite you to join me in passing the spending cap ordinance as we proceed.