RUMFORD – A public hearing on a proposal to amend the charter to allow nonresidents to be hired annually for certain town jobs will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29.
What’s not certain, however, is whether selectmen can finish drafting a proposed wind ordinance so it, too, can be discussed at the hearing in the Rumford Falls Auditorium.
“The actual draft does not have to be complete before you have the hearing, but it would be very good if you could,” Town Manager Carlo Puiia told selectmen.
Since June, selectmen have held wind ordinance workshops nearly every week to draft a third proposal and place it before voters on Election Day, Nov. 8.
Should they miss that date, the ordinance would likely go before town meeting voters in June 2012, because special town meetings draw fewer people and cost extra.
After two selectmen asked Puiia about the process timeline to reach the November polls, Selectman Jeremy Volkernick expressed his opposition to fast-tracking the ordinance.
Reiterating the board’s agreement prior to starting work on the third proposed wind ordinance this summer, Volkernick said, “There was no way we were going to expedite this ordinance.”
“We were going to take our time, and we were going do it right,” he said. “That was the agreement.”
“Now all of a sudden, it seems to me during the discussions today and listening in this past week, that’s not the case. I will not expedite this ordinance.”
“I will take my time, and I will do it right,” Volkernick said.
If the ordinance is expedited, he said he had questions to share from residents who want and don’t want wind power.
Volkernick then suggested asking residents on the Nov. 8 ballot if they want wind power in Rumford.
That’s been done in the past and a majority wanted wind power, but he said he believes that may no longer be true.
Board Chairman Greg Buccina said the board’s drafting of the ordinance wasn’t being done to mollify one faction or the other, but rather to regulate wind development and to protect residents.
Due to the charter, Buccina said Puiia was simply alerting the board to processes that must be followed should they try to hit the November polls.
“We’re not expediting or rushing this through,” Buccina said.
“Well, Greg, it sounds like we are,” Volkernick interrupted.
“I don’t think that this has to do with rushing, and I think this was asked a couple of meetings ago that if we put the question on the ballot in November, the moratorium is still in place until the end of the six months,” Buccina said.
He was referring to the moratorium on wind power development.
“We have a lot on our plate, and I firmly believe that we can draft an ordinance. Once we include benefits to this community, then I think we will be on our way.”
Buccina said the board needs to finish discussing the technical aspects of wind turbines first. That’s on the agenda for their next workshop at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22.
“If it takes all the time it takes, I’m in no rush to hurry it on,” he said. “I don’t think anybody is.
“But the fact of the matter is, it would behoove us as a board to get it done and done right if it takes until a special meeting or next June and extending the moratorium another six months to put it on the ballot.”
“That is our prerogative as long as we are working towards doing something,” Buccina said.
“I think we can get this done and do it right and not rush through it, and then get it on the ballot in November,” he said. “If we can, wonderful. If we cannot, it’s OK,” Buccina said.
“We’re not just going to throw something out there that isn’t going to be ordinance worthy or something that’s going to be incomplete and not all inclusive of everything we wanted to discuss.”
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