Fiscal responsibility starts at home
To the Editor:
The theme for this year’s budget season in Rumford is fear.
If you cut any money from the Rumford Fire Department, lives will be lost. If you don’t approve the huge Rumford Police Department budget, the streets will be unsafe to walk. If you don’t vote for a return to wasteful spending on welfare, there will be people starving to death.
The goal is to scare you the voter into thinking that safety requires big spending in little Rumford Maine. Let’s take a look.
The Rumford Fire Department can no longer respond by itself to any call that might be a structure fire. The law requires that there be two qualified firemen to go into the building, there must be two qualified firemen ready to replace them and there must be two engineers operating the trucks.
The Rumford Fire Department has killed its once booming call force in the hopes that we would get suckered into a 20-man fulltime department with a $2.7 million station. We currently do not have enough qualified call force members for Rumford to answer a structure fire call without the Mexico Fire Department being dispatched as well. It doesn’t matter if there are one, two or three fire fighters on duty, they can’t do it. Don’t be afraid though, Mexico has a large well functioning call force and they are now our primary structure fire response force.
Then Chief Carter warns of the crime wave that will sweep Rumford if we should cut so much as one officer. He threatens to cut the crossing guard at Four Corners, while at the same time wasting money to equip a Hummer. The Board of Selectmen did not have the backbone to ask the county for a quote on how much it would cost to for the Sheriff’s Office to provide coverage for Rumford; there is a potential savings of over half a million dollars.
Don’t just take into consideration the $800,000 or so that the chief is asking for in public; ask a selectmen about the other cost such as insurance and retirement; we pay over a million dollars for police coverage.
Evidently, the Selectmen resented the taxpayers voting down the bloated Welfare budget and now they want to restore that budget and give the part–time welfare director a $5,000 raise. If we don’t do this, there will be dire consequences. Is that true?
Last year, they told us that if we cut the Welfare budget we would just have to come back and take money out of the general fund. Guess what, we didn’t. So why would need more money?
Why is Rumford the only town that cannot handle general assistance claims out of the town manager's office or the town clerk's office? Every town our size does it that way; but no, not Rumford; Rumford is special. Jay does it that way, Farmington does it that way, Skowhegan does it that way, but it just won’t work in Rumford. Unless you, the voter, says it will.
There is little difference between the recommendations of the Finance Committee and the Board of Selectmen this year. That means that a “yes” vote is a vote to increase your taxes. The only way we can stop that is by voting “no” and sending the budget back to be lowered. We all complain that Washington is wasting our money. We all complain that Augusta is wasting our money. Well it’s time to do something about Rumford wasting our money right here in Rumford.
Vote “no” and demand that fiscal responsibility starts right here at home.