Year-to-date budget on target at Northern Maine Development Commission

10 years ago

    CARIBOU, Maine — The Northern Maine Development Commission executive board of directors met for their monthly meeting on April 10.
The meeting began with the announcement of a number of new appointees to the executive board of directors. New members of the board include Mary Anne Buck of Mapleton, Gene Conlogue of Houlton, Jon Frederick of Castle Hill, Jim Gagnon of Wallagrass and Max Lynds of Littleton.

The new appointees to the board of directors come after another set of appointments that also took place recently involving the Community Engagement Standing Committee. Those new appointees included Christina Therrien of Madawaska, Austin Bleess of Caribou, Jim Gagnon of Wallagrass, Jon Frederick of Castle Hill, Gene Conlogue of Houlton, Christy Sirois of St. Agatha, Patricia Sutherland of Chapman, Barb Pitcairn of Portage Lake and Tom Clowes, who represents certain unorganized territories.
It was announced at Thursday’s meeting that after only one meeting of the Community Engagement Committee, efforts are underway to better communicate with member communities. Already a new Opportunity Alert email system has been established. A yearly community project and needs survey will be conducted and the municipal newsletter will be sent electronically as well as by U.S. mail.
With the long list of new appointments and some familiar faces taking up new roles for NMDC, there will no doubt be some new ideas and opinions contributing to their respective positions.
The board of directors also presented the financial reports for the period ending on Feb. 28, during the current 2014 fiscal year. Director of operations Ruby Bradbury presented the agency-wide revenue and expenditure statement.
Under the revenue section, the report announced that the benchmark for the period ending Feb. 28 is 66.6 percent.
Bradbury explained that NMDC had the EDA Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) as well as the USDA IMCP grant that started on Oct. 1.
Within the category of Municipal Dues Bradbury has some good news that involved a couple municipalities who have officially paid off all of their dues. Bradbury’s monthly financial report stated that she is happy to report that Danforth and Nashville Plantation have paid all their municipal dues.
In the Fees for Service category Bradbury explained that NMDC has budgeted $87,658 under the Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). She went on to explain that last month NMDC was informed that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will not reimburse the Maine MEP for their subrecipient contracts for 2012. Because of this the receivables with the paper mill in Madawaska also had to be written off. $32,500 was the amount owed from MEP and $34,009 was from Frasier Paper.
“The good news is that we have now received all funds from 2013 and we are catching up with 2014 funds,” Bradbury said.
“Companies are reluctant to contract for services with the current state of the economy,” said Bradbury. “Since the budget amendment, we are now handling loans for Madawaska and the Washington and Hancock Community Agency Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP). Therefore, we are earning more fees than we previously anticipated.”
Under Other Income Bradbury claimed NMDC has unanticipated income for the Area 2 Tiger Grant of $10,366 and the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Grant of $2,852.
“We received $110,000 which will be a pass through. This was a fine assessed by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP) and will be paid to the town of Washburn for their dam project,” said Bradbury. “We had anticipated the RBOG Business Entrepreneur Pilot Program to have been granted a no cost extension. Instead it was unencumbered and $20,561 in expenses had to come from unrestricted funds.”
This left the total revenues for the period at $4,949,265, which represents 60.3 percent. The total figure is 6.3 points below the board’s predicted benchmark.
Under the expenses category there were a long list that made up a total expense figure of $4,440,760. In her expense report Bradbury claims that NMDC in regards to their copying and printing system had recently entered into a new lease agreement, which will save them $8,000 over the remainder of the current fiscal year.
The $4,949,265 expenditure total equates for 57.1 percent of NMDC’s budgeted expenses or 9.5 percent points below the projected benchmark.
Another important issue discussed at Thursday’s meeting was the proposal to authorize and submit the EDA Planning Grant for $70,000. The investment will prepare an updated Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the NMDC regions, which includes both Aroostook and Washington counties.
Executive director Robert Clark provided the presention for the EDA planning grants and explained that this is the same EDA planning grant NMDC has been receiving for about the last 30 years and the funding is exactly the same as it was 30 years ago.
Work will include a review and possible revision to the existing CEDS Strategy Committee as appropriate; the development and submission to EDA of a CEDS that complies with the specific Code of Federal Regulations (CFR); the submission of an annual report to EDA; the updating of community demographics; and analysis of economic development challenges and opportunities; the facilitation of community and private sector participation; the creation of CEDS action plan with performance measures; and the incorporation of any high impact capital improvement projects.
Clark explained that specifically, the recipient will maintain and update the CEDS, as well as work with officials and economic and community development agencies in the district to identify, plan and implement public works and capacity building projects compatible with the CEDS. They will also be expected to support production of the NMDC annual report, operating plan and the functions of the Northern Maine Empowerment Council. Lastly, they must provide for updates to the NMDC website, while also fulfilling the reporting and accounting requirements of the EDA planning grant program.
One of the last, but certainly not least important items on the agenda was the funding that will be received by Lincoln Paper and Tissue. Maine workers affected by layoffs at Lincoln Paper and Tissue will receive funding for re-employment services from the U.S. Department of Labor in the total of $252,902. USDOL announced the $252,902 contract amount on March 17, 2014. The National Emergency Grant will assist approximately 100 workers impacted by the layoffs at the Lincoln mill.
The Tri-County Workforce Investment Board (TCWIB) will provide oversight and Eastern Maine Development Corporation will provide services. Workers residing in 28 communities, mostly in the region of northern Penobscot County, will receive intensive, supportive and wrap around services. Training will be funded through the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program.
The next NMDC executive board of directors meeting will be held at 3 p.m. on Thursday,
May 8.