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As Rumford's Budget Season is slated to ramp up on March 6 with the first of two Initiated Articles Hearings before the Rumford Board of Selectmen, it is not lost on this writer that the writing is already on the wall as to what to expect from the Rumford Board of Selectmen as it relates to budgets going up, they will and it will be by a lot.

Confused What started out as a simple sidewalk project, replacing the crumbled brick and concrete sidewalks on both sides of Congress Street with asphalt in 2012, has exploded into a THREE MILLION DOLLAR sidewalk project as of this writing.

At the March 5, 2015 Selectmen's meeting as reported in the Sun Journal http://www.sunjournal.com/news/river-val...on/1664979 the price tag had ballooned to $1.05 MILLION and the proposal for a special town meeting to approve a bond issue!

The discussion among the selectmen, town manager, and who knows who else, escalated to reveal that may well not even be the bottom line and resulted in tabling of the agenda item. Today, I was informed "not the bottom line" would more appropriately would be state, as "not the bottomline by a long shot." Omg Today I was informed by the Town Manager's Office and a Selectmen, the bottom line is more like THREE MILLION DOLLARS with the addition of all new utilities!

Now I would have thought the Water District putting in water lines as part of the project (or replacing later and paying for all the repairs to pre-excuvation condition) would be at the expense of the Water District, the same with Sewer Lines, Power lines, and telephone lines that would run under the sidewalks. Apparently not so. Apparently all these entities with their "services" running under the sidewalks on Congress St, think we, all taxpayers of Rumford should foot the bill, a VERY BIG BILL, $3 MILLION worth. That the Town Manager and Selectmen would entertain the idea of spending $1.05 million on three blocks of sidewalks to run along a sting of blighted and abandoned Congress St buildings is astounding and terrifying; it certainly does not bode well for fiscal responsibility coming out of this board with the 2015-2016 budgets.

What took me down town to be "informed" of the latest price tag of this project was the need to pick up a copy of the Initiated Article Schedule as I agreed during last years debacle to introduce as a citizen of Rumford several organizations request this time around and if necessary stand in for their representatives to avoid last years unsavory circumstances with the Finance Committee recommending $0 for the Veteran's Group and Rumford's Senior Organizations when representatives of those to groups didn't appear for a second presentation, not understanding they had to do it all twice in Rumford.

The Initiated Articles requests list is something that should definitely be reserved for review in the bathroom or in front of a bucket as the GRCC request is $113,750 despite STILL not being in compliance with health and safety regulations TWO YEARS after failing a State Fire Marshal's Inspection, not the first time this has happened.

Black Mountain will be back again asking for yet another $25,000 of forced donations from tax payers.

This years total requests comes to $196,188 including several new "players," including: The huge non-profit (except for the very well paid managers and board members) of Central Maine Medical Center for their big profit center adversely impacted by ObamaCare, LifeFlight, asking for a $1,460 donation to further compensate them for "flying" anyone and virtually everyone to grace the doors of their subsidiary Rumford Community Hospital's Emergency Room Doors to the Lewiston facility. Kennebec Behavioral Health (yes I said Kennebec as in Kennebec County an hour plus away in Augusta) is asking Rumford taxpayers to kick in $50.00; yes a whole $50 to get their foot in the Rumford forced donation by taxpayers door. The Progress Center has plunged into the hand out program with a $10,000 request!

If like me you have never heard of The Progress Center, it is yet another non-profit located at 135 Cottage St, Norway, "The Progress Center is a human services non-profit agency that provides residential, vocational, day habilitation, case management, and in-home support services to adults and children with developmental disabilities and mental health diagnoses. In addition, every Thursday evening we host community dinners free to the public. We have been in operation since 1980 and support approximately 192 people living in 44 communities within 4 counties in western Maine." According to their webpage at http://progresscentermaine.org/ Isn't that exactly what Hope Association, established in 1957 right hear in Rumford and requesting $6,560 does along with oxford County Mental Health Services does, $3,500, and others requesting support that are located right here in Rumford do? Why would an organization serving a distant area be hitting us up for money? Maybe because we have proven time and again we are easy marks for pick pockets?

All the indications suggest it is going to a banner bad year for Rumford's remaining taxpayers. Angry
I have obtained a digital copy of the 2015-2016 Town Manager's budgets being submitted to the Rumford Board of Selectmen. The .pdf file can be viewed at http://rivervalleysun.com/4381/rumford_b..._released/
For your sake I hope that paper mill in Rumford lasts longer than the one in Bucksport did!

Places like Millinocket and now Bucksport have realized, the hardest possible way, that no huge tax base like that.......is forever, a very hard and painful lesson indeed.

WC
(03-12-2015 08:09 AM)woodcanoe Wrote: [ -> ]For your sake I hope that paper mill in Rumford lasts longer than the one in Bucksport did!

Places like Millinocket and now Bucksport have realized, the hardest possible way, that no huge tax base like that.......is forever, a very hard and painful lesson indeed.

WC

It isn't going to last much longer at all. Rumford had the 2014-2015 valuation of the mill at $111 Million. Catalyst paid $14 Million and that place has been hemorrhaging cash for a decade if not more. I expect any day to hear that Catalyst filed for the abatement that NePage didn't expend resources on with the sale pending. I fully expect Catalyst to ask for an abatement that would bring the valuation down to the $14 Million for the 2014-2015 year. Giving Catalyst back all that money would bring Rumford to its knees.

Follow that up with a proper valuation of under $14 million based on all those losses come the 2015-2016 cycle will finish off Rumford.

The "leadership" here is making no effort to prepare for the imminent inevitable.
Some town officials always have to learn in the hardest possible way, that it is indeed possible to eat the entire "golden goose"!

Millinocket had such a high valuation on Great Northern that most other people paid very little in taxes at all. That is all well and good until reality sets in and sometimes that reality hurts real bad.

I feel sorry for Rumford as I have traveled RT 2 hundreds of times in the past 8 or 9 years, back and forth to NH, and can't help but notice that there is not much of an economy there outside of that mill. As you say the end is in sight for anyone who cares to look ahead a bit!

WC
Candice
We here in the Katahdin region have a nice national park effort underway if you folks wanted it.
We sure don't.
(03-12-2015 08:59 PM)Ugene Wrote: [ -> ]Candice
We here in the Katahdin region have a nice national park effort underway if you folks wanted it.
We sure don't.

I read about the project Ugene. We here are already dealing with the freeloading snowmobilers, atv-ers and sportsman who encroach on others land for their recreation, deny the landowners their property owner's rights to do what they will with their property, (including vandalizing peoples agriculture) and block economic development costing the owners even more in taxes. More and more property owners here already saying enough and closing their property to snowmobilers, atv-ers, and sportsman. More power to them.

Have a friend who got into blueberries, they are like his babies. Several of the interstate trails run through his property, but not for much longer. He's sick of them ignoring the signs, knocking down the bright orange fences around his blueberry bushes, and tearing up the bushes. He loves those bushes like they were his children. He also pays huge taxes on that land for his enjoyment not the freeloaders. Going to be interesting next season when those trails are closed with no way around them short of illegally driving for miles down Route 2.

Hopefully all those property owners up there being taken advantage of by freeloaders who are now trying to tell the land owners what they can and can't do on the land they own and pay taxes shut the freeloaders out. If the freeloaders up their don't like what the landowners are doing with their own property, they out to buy it from them, they pay the taxes on it, and then they can do what they want with it.
How is it, Farmington with a permanent population of 4,288 very close to Rumford's and its huge college student population can operate on a budget of just $5.25 million and Rumford's "leadership" insists Rumford can't be run on $6.2 million? The 2015-2016 proposed budget is $7.81 million.

http://www.sunjournal.com/…/farmington-v...i…/1670872
While I sympathize with landowners having problems with rogue operators, as I have had to deal with, myself, I suspect that you would think quite differently about Roxanne Quimby's plans to use her land holdings to bring federal control to your region.
The plan is for complete control of the northern forest, which runs from the Adirondack region to the St John valley.
These econoterrorists would just love to see all your dams pulled out in Rumford so that the river would revert to it's natural state.
Anybody in Rural Maine should be paying attention to the big picture.


(03-14-2015 04:25 PM)Candice Casey Wrote: [ -> ]
(03-12-2015 08:59 PM)Ugene Wrote: [ -> ]Candice
We here in the Katahdin region have a nice national park effort underway if you folks wanted it.
We sure don't.

I read about the project Ugene. We here are already dealing with the freeloading snowmobilers, atv-ers and sportsman who encroach on others land for their recreation, deny the landowners their property owner's rights to do what they will with their property, (including vandalizing peoples agriculture) and block economic development costing the owners even more in taxes. More and more property owners here already saying enough and closing their property to snowmobilers, atv-ers, and sportsman. More power to them.

Have a friend who got into blueberries, they are like his babies. Several of the interstate trails run through his property, but not for much longer. He's sick of them ignoring the signs, knocking down the bright orange fences around his blueberry bushes, and tearing up the bushes. He loves those bushes like they were his children. He also pays huge taxes on that land for his enjoyment not the freeloaders. Going to be interesting next season when those trails are closed with no way around them short of illegally driving for miles down Route 2.

Hopefully all those property owners up there being taken advantage of by freeloaders who are now trying to tell the land owners what they can and can't do on the land they own and pay taxes shut the freeloaders out. If the freeloaders up their don't like what the landowners are doing with their own property, they out to buy it from them, they pay the taxes on it, and then they can do what they want with it.
The Rumford Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee have completed their Initiated Article Hearings and voted their recommendations for the June Ballot. The Selectmen have completed their Municipal Budget Hearings and voted their recommendations for the June Ballot. The media has been SILENT as to the hearings and the recommendations. If they weren't still frozen, you'd be able to hear the crickets the silence is so deafening. Folks really should be alarmed that they are being provided with no information, not only what the recommendations will be on the ballot to consider and discuss before showing up at the polls. Never in the history of Rumford before this budget season has Rumford's budget process not been heavily covered, this round there has been ZERO coverage, there has to be a reason we are all being kept in the dark.
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