WE VOTED DOWN THE TOWN BUDGET IN THE JUNE 11 TOWN ELECTION!
Congratulations to all who helped bring restraint and common sense back
to the Rumford budgeting process.
WE VOTED DOWN THE TOWN BUDGET IN THE JULY ELECTION.
THEN, WHEN TOWN OFFICIALS INCREASED THEIR PROPOSED BUDGET FOR AN ELECTION AUGUST 27,
WE VOTED IT DOWN AGAIN.
How can town officials get a budget approved? By trimming back expenditures to, or close to, the $6.2 million level proposed by Save Rumford all along. In the next few weeks, the town will have to come up with another budget proposal. If the selectboard and finance committee make a serious effort to get the total 2013-2014 budget down to, or close to, the $6.2 million level, they will be able, finally, to win the support of the voters. If not, the tedious string of election after election may continue.
Results of the August 27 budget election
Proposed amounts and the votes defeating them
* $655,000 for the Fire Department, by a vote of 514-629.
* $738,774 for the Police Department, 509-639.
* $652,683 for public safety, 513-634.
* $78,000 for General Assistance, 489-658.
* $799,080 for general government, 506-641.
* $423,000 for capital accounts, 504-643.
* $1,390,700 for unclassified accounts, 465-679.
Town officials claim even small budget cuts will lead to disastrous reductions in service. Is this true?
No! See a long list of cuts that can be made without impacting services: 50 Ways to Cut the Budget
Rumford is at a crossroads.
- Population is down 11 percent in the last decade.
- The tax base shrunk nearly 15 percent in the last few years.
- Unemployment is constantly higher than the state and national average
- Poverty rates, by federal measurement, exceed 50 percent in parts of town.
- Abandoned buildings line our streets in even some of the best neighborhoods.
And yet the town budget keeps going up and up! And taxes and fees keep going up and up! Sooner or later, financial catastrophe catches up with towns and cities with shrinking populations and dwindling local economies when the local government doesn't cut its spending. All over the United States, local governments go into bankruptcy. This year, the town government is about to enact a budget with another increase even though the major employer, New Page, took the unprecedented step of sending their top managers to town hall to plead for budgetary restraint
They were ignored.
But voters are making it harder for the town's leaders to ignore the need for fiscal restraint.
We have a chance to do something that those who run the town of Rumford can't ignore. We have taken the first step by voting down the proposed, bloated budget to show without doubt that town officials have to start cutting back. Now, join with Save Rumford! to petition for a budget cap ordinance to put a fixed limit on how high town officials can raise the budget. We will be seeking a special town meeting to vote on a charter amendment and an ordinance to put a budget cap in place.
WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?
A major portion of the budget is the wages and benefits paid to town employees Last year, 26 of the town's employees earned over $50,000, as well as 100 percent health insurance for themselves and, for many of the employees, 100 percent for their families, plus other benefits.
To see a list of wages paid to Rumford town employees in 2012, view this .pdf file.
Does the town leadership negotiate effectively for the taxpayers when dealing with public employee unions? You decide. See the Public Works Department union contract here.
See the Fire Department union contract here.
Did you know that paying someone a wage costs more than the wage itself? In Rumford, the town pays over a million dollars in payroll costs over and beyond what the employees receive. Here are the facts
A proposal from former town manager Len Greaney for merging area towns: here.