Rumford selectmen OK animal shelter deal, get update on Black Mountain

Posted July 04, 2013, at 10:04 p.m.

RUMFORD, Maine — Selectmen approved an animal sheltering services contract Wednesday night with a local provider and discussed matters pertaining to the July 23 municipal budget vote.

They also heard an update about Black Mountain of Maine ski area. An executive session for a personnel matter was tabled until the board’s next meeting on July 18.

Taking police Chief Stacy Carter’s recommendation, the board OK’d an annual assessment fee of $11,682 for McKennel’s Animal Adoption Agency.

According to the contract, the fee covers only the daily board and admission/documentation fee — previously called the impoundment fee — for all domesticated animals that are impounded as stray or abandoned with no known owner. The animals must not have bitten or scratched a person or animal, nor show an imminent need for quarantine.

Carter said that he, Town Manager Carlo Puiia and McKennel’s owner, Marsha McKenna, met previously to discuss the contract. Carter said the contract, known as “Option B,” will fit within the new proposed municipal budget.

Selectman Brad Adley asked if it is a one-year deal, which Carter confirmed.

The board approved the warrant for the special secret poll meeting to vote on the proposed municipal budget ballot from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, July 23, in the American Legion hall.

Board of Selectmen Chairman Greg Buccina asked for nominations for election warden and deputy wardens. Adley said he could serve as warden for the morning hours, and Selectmen Frank DiConzo, Jeff Sterling and Jolene Lovejoy offered their services as deputy wardens.

However, Buccina and Puiia said that they only needed two deputy wardens, so DiConzo and Adley said they’d waive the town’s payment for the positions. It was unclear if Sterling also waived payment. But Lovejoy said she wanted to be paid, so she withdrew. The board then approved DiConzo and Sterling as deputy election wardens.

Selectmen also eliminated nighttime hours for voter registration per the voter registrar. There was no discussion.

During his update on the Rumford ski hill, Roger Arsenault, president of the Black Mountain Board of Directors, said the ski area is scheduled to close by month’s end. It is owned by the Maine Winter Sports Center, which is funded by grants from the Libra Foundation.

“The Libra Foundation decided to stop funding Black Mountain,” Arsenault said.

Since learning of this development, Arsenault said he has been in meetings with the foundation to decide how to structure the ski area in order to close out vendor accounts.

As of Wednesday, however, Arsenault said there are a great number of fundraisers taking place which have currently raised more than $60,000 toward the necessary $150,000 to keep the ski area in operation. These funds have been raised in just six days, according to Arsenault.

Andy Shephard, the chief executive of the sports center, is currently trying to find a nonprofit buyer for Black Mountain.

Arsenault said the fundraising efforts will show broad support for the ski area to a potential owner and hopefully attract a buyer. He said that if they cannot find a buyer, the money raised through donations will be returned to the donors.

“I really don’t know where it all will shake out,” he said. “I’ve been assured by (Shepard) that he’s doing everything in his power to make this happen.”

Arsenault said Franklin Savings Bank has pledged $10,000 to Black Mountain and agreed to match the donations made by Rumford residents. Additionally, he said the sports center has provided funding for the ski area’s employees for 30 days.

Arsenault stated that he wanted to clear up misinformation that the ski area sued the town in the past.

“That’s not true,” he said.

When Buccina asked where donations may be sent, Arsenault said checks may be made out to “Friends of Black Mountain” and mailed or dropped off at Franklin Savings Bank, where an account has been set up at the Rumford branch.

Arsenault announced that if anyone has questions about the ski area, they may call him at 357-3719.

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