Support for Rumford Finance Committee's recommended budget
To the Editor:
It is time for those who want Rumford to remain a vibrant, living community to respond to those who think that lowering real estate taxes is some sort of magic solution to "save Rumford."
The fate of the paper mill rests on a lot more than the taxes it pays.
Lowering taxes may buy time but it will not save the mill if the paper industry continues to be subjected to the competitive pressure it has had to fight the last several years. No amount of tax abatement will change the market forces that are at work at the present time.
The answer is more than a tax reduction. It is people. People cannot save the mill but they can save Rumford.. If we can entice people to stay rather than move on to greener pastures and entice people to look at Rumford as a good place to raise their families regardless of the outcome of the mill, Rumford has a better chance of survival.
I do not think that can happen if people continue to cut the services that help make Rumford the place that it is, or can be. If we show the world that we do not care about recreation for our residents by ignoring Black Mountain and the GRCC, or the intellectual services that the library provides for, why would anyone want to stay or move here.
Saving money for the mill does not translate into business for Hannafords and the gas stations and restaurants and retailers like Aubochons, Stanleys, Carlyles, and all the other small businesses trying to stay afloat in town.
Although the mill is paying 44% of the town’s real estate taxes, Rumford has been in economic decline for several years. Why do people think that is going to improve by keeping the mill running? Granted lower taxes means more spendable income. Does that mean people will spend more on the local economy? What will they spend it on if the town fails to provide sufficient private enterprise goods and services to attract that income.
It becomes a chicken and egg problem. Without goods and services, we cannot draw people. Without people, we cannot create demand for goods and services. It is my belief that people are the basic necessity. The continuation of the mill will not provide that for Rumford, the surrounding area maybe, but not Rumford. If the mill could expand its operation as a result of lower taxes that might be the place to start but we know that will not happen.
We cannot afford to put all our eggs in the mill’s basket. The problem has to be attacked from both ends. The citizens of Rumford must realize that in order to improve Rumford certain standards must be maintained and that takes municipal money.
Please give serious consideration to the Finance Committee’s recommended budget.