Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by Phil Blampied on Wed Aug 27, 2008 11:15 pm

Dave -

Thanks for the suggestions about the literature package. We are adding an infrastructure leaf to it. The traffic count is in there, it's 11,000 per day on Rt. 2 through Rumford (2006 state figures). There is a brief demographics page. The idea is to make this package readable and so reams of tables and statistics are not a good first package. An encyclopedia won't get read. There is also the problem that demographics get ess valid due to the thinness of population in places. A "demographic profile" of Byron wouldn't tell you much, really: one multi-millionaire would make the whole town look loaded. The "availability" of TIFs is entirely a political issue and is decided case by case in each town. The entire state is now eligible for Pine Tree treatment under recent legislation.

But TIFs and Pine Tree are just a promise to reduce the tax burden, which says to a business that they'll just go in reverse a little less slowly for a while. I would get the whole thing out of reverse and put it in forward gear. How can we incentivize economic development? I suggested we actually award new businesses a $1000 bonus on opening, but that has lots of problems and my wiser fellow committee members shot it down. Still thinking, though.

Instead of puffing up your chest about all your economic development buddies, why not offer some specifics, case studies, specific advice as to the direction to take. If you really have some competency in economic development, contact me and let me put you to work. I have specific projects that need volunteers. But it is not attending meetings and eating donuts. You have to be willing to make the calls.

Consider that the two major economic development bodies in this area have been the Oxford Hills Growth Council and the River Valley Growth Council. The first has collapsed, the second isn't far from it, but our new committee is working with the RV Growth Council to see what we can do to use their strengths and possibly help them survive. Is this the example of "professionalism" that you're referring to? Or is it AVCOG, which has done just about zip for us up here in Rumford except to charge us for drafting zoning laws? Or is it the Western Maine Alliance, which purports to work toward improving the economy of the entire region, but has done nothing in Rumford because they can't find a grant to take an administrator's fee from?

Unfortunately, the field of economic development has drifted into Wizard of Oz-ism, where smoke and mirrors substitutes for accomplishment and everybody thinks they deserve a grand a week no matter what they get done. This has grown out of the fact that the regular people on the town and city boards and councils feel inadequate when it comes to economic development, so they look for the miracle worker to cure their inadequacy. They write blank checks for economic development with very little oversight and not much in the way of goals.

My alternative model is to use volunteer labor as far as possible, then to bid out projects to professionals when necessary. The RFP's will include (gasp) deadlines, goals and oversight, which many professionals may find insulting, but that's okay, because I'm thinking the students in the business majors program at the University of Maine might do a better job, and make some money on the side to boot, then your usual economic development professional.

I will tell you exactly what will happen with the efforts of this committee. If the economy doesn't tank with heating costs this winter, you will see the first fruits of our labor in the Spring.

If the economy tanks and there are severe disruptions, then I expect you need to add a year to the cycle, and you will see results (new jobs, new investment, new businesses) in Spring, 2010.

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 28, 2008 8:38 am

The discussion between Dave and Phil B is a wonderful example of how this forum could be really helpful to our community. Great job guys.

Unfortunately many of the other posts are way too personal and spiteful.

Itís hard to read others intent online. They may mean something very benign but it doesnít feel that way to you. Letís give others the benefit of the doubt here.

When I start reading a post attacking others, I seldom finish it. I donít think Iím alone in that either.


We are all creating reputations on here. It may feel good at the moment to throw back at someone you feel may have just put you down but you usually only end up hurting your own reputation when you do that. Letís try to stick to the issues.

If you want to be taken seriously here, you should behave in a manor that will allow others to do so. It's no different here than in any other community.
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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by Murph on Thu Aug 28, 2008 5:56 pm

Mark_Henry wrote:
Murph wrote:Mr. Henry, I am curious to know how you came about being on this committee when you're not even a citizen of this town. Shouldn't those positions be reserved for people who are citizens of the Town of Rumford?

Hey there "Murph", still playing with The Magic Tones? If you're really all that interested, why not ask the people who formed the committee, or better yet simply read the minutes from the selectman's meetings? Or is that too much work for you?

Heck, I'm in a generous mood tonight - anyone who's willing to volunteer their time can work for the EDC. I filled out the paperwork and my application was accepted - just like everyone else who applied. Oh, and there's no limit to the number of members, so I'm not preventing a Rumford resident from participating and giving their time.

So, now that you know that, can I expect to see you at the next EDC meeting? We've got TONS of work to do, and not nearly enough volunteers. Or are you and Timeout too busy playing video games and blogging to give some time back to your community?

Mark Henry

Well, Mr. Henry, seeing that in my first question to you I showed you respect, and in return you treated me with harsh words and disrespect, I now know just what kind of person you are. I also now know why you were let in on the EDC openings before the public ever was. I am an active citizen of this community. I am respectful of my neighbors, honest in my lifestyle, and angry with the bullshit politics that have overrun this area. YOU, Mr. Henry, and the nasty response you paid a lifelong member of this community, are part of the reasons there is such turmoil in the River Valley. When did it become common practice to immediately bite a person's head off when they have a legitimate question? Oooh, that's right, when certain individuals decided that this town was theirs to run in any way they deem acceptable. I follow these politics in the community VERY closely, and have since the beginning. My family has volunteered in the area for YEARS. Do not presume to believe you are above another person simply because you have aligned yourself with the scum that has overturned this town. Don't you have some wind turbines to think about???

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by steve on Thu Aug 28, 2008 7:55 pm

People, people, let's play nice, OK? If not you just might find Admin hitting the "smite" button on your posts. Seriously, there's no reason why we can't be civil with each other. As has been pointed out in other threads, you cannot adequately convey intent or emotion or sarcasm in written words, nor can readers adequately interpret those same attributes. So, how about if everyone takes a deep breath and a step back and tries to stay on topic instead of assassinating each other's character? I come to this forum to find out what's happening in my home town (because, God knows, I can't rely on the Maine newspapers). I don't care what personal grievances you have with each other. Put them aside and work toward resolving the River Valley's problems!

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 28, 2008 8:26 pm

Well said Steve.
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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by Phil Blampied on Thu Aug 28, 2008 8:34 pm

Clarification on Economic Development Committee membership:
nobody is rejected. If you want to join, you can. You may or may not work out and you can fade gracefully if it doesn't work out for you.

No one is "placed" on the committee. No one is "let in" on the committee. And no one is rejected. You don't have to live in Rumford, because the committee has no power over anything in town government, no budgetary power, no statutory power, no ordinance-creating authority. That's not what's happening. It is all about volunteering your time to work on economic development, and we welcome people from around the region.

The theory behind this is that many will volunteer but we will have a lot of people fade away, and we will let that happen gracefully, when they find out the kind of diligent work required. No one is going to be impeached or ejected or black balled or treated rudely. Get involved and if it's not your cup of tea, that's fine. But maybe we can find a role for you.

We need help putting the sandbags up on the economic levees around Rumford and we aren't scrutinizing resumes as long as you have a strong back. (Metaphorically speaking, that is.) Our next meeting is September 24 at 6 pm in the town hall auditorium. See you there.

Join us.

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by C on Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:42 pm

Phil B.~ I've added it to the forum calendar, perhaps your posts will encourage people to come.
Hopefully you'll see some new faces. Very Happy
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Apologies

Post by Mark_Henry on Sat Aug 30, 2008 8:11 am

I was having a very bad night last week and took it out on several posters here - including Timeout and Murph. Please accept my sincerest apology for how I replied to your inquiries.

That being said, it does burn my hide when aspersions, innuendo, and down right accusations are thrown out at good people. When people like Phil Blampied, Len Greaney, and Seth Carey are denigrated on an almost daily basis it makes it nearly impossible for them to accomplish anything positive. If you place anyone's life under tight enough scrutiny you will find something to call into question. I'm not suggesting a hands-off attitude, but a little less sarcasm and passive-agressive tone (on all our parts - mine included) would go a long way to helping us all communicate better and understand each other at a deeper level.

Again, to Timeout, Murph, and anyone else I offended with my sarcastic and rude postings this week - please accept my apology. I'll think a little longer next time before I hit that "Send" button.

Regards,

Mark Henry

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by KevinNSaisi on Sat Aug 30, 2008 10:28 am

Murph wrote:
Mark_Henry wrote:
Murph wrote:Mr. Henry, I am curious to know how you came about being on this committee when you're not even a citizen of this town. Shouldn't those positions be reserved for people who are citizens of the Town of Rumford?

Hey there "Murph", still playing with The Magic Tones? If you're really all that interested, why not ask the people who formed the committee, or better yet simply read the minutes from the selectman's meetings? Or is that too much work for you?

Heck, I'm in a generous mood tonight - anyone who's willing to volunteer their time can work for the EDC. I filled out the paperwork and my application was accepted - just like everyone else who applied. Oh, and there's no limit to the number of members, so I'm not preventing a Rumford resident from participating and giving their time.

So, now that you know that, can I expect to see you at the next EDC meeting? We've got TONS of work to do, and not nearly enough volunteers. Or are you and Timeout too busy playing video games and blogging to give some time back to your community?

Mark Henry

Well, Mr. Henry, seeing that in my first question to you I showed you respect, and in return you treated me with harsh words and disrespect, I now know just what kind of person you are. I also now know why you were let in on the EDC openings before the public ever was. I am an active citizen of this community. I am respectful of my neighbors, honest in my lifestyle, and angry with the bullshit politics that have overrun this area. YOU, Mr. Henry, and the nasty response you paid a lifelong member of this community, are part of the reasons there is such turmoil in the River Valley. When did it become common practice to immediately bite a person's head off when they have a legitimate question? Oooh, that's right, when certain individuals decided that this town was theirs to run in any way they deem acceptable. I follow these politics in the community VERY closely, and have since the beginning. My family has volunteered in the area for YEARS. Do not presume to believe you are above another person simply because you have aligned yourself with the scum that has overturned this town. Don't you have some wind turbines to think about???


Regardless of what Mark said, Murph's above response was totally irresponsible, but quite revealing of some seriously negative attitudes. It is sad that some people believe in excluding those who were not born here or live outside of Rumford. All people have something to offer regardless of where they live. This is just a different type of bigotry. It is shameful and hurtful. It does just as much damage to our community as those who express/display hatred against various races and religions. Murph is entitled to an opinion regarding town politics, however misguided I feel it may be, but calling people SCUM contributes to "anti-social capital" which I thought was not acceptable here. I wish the admin would follow through on the rules that have been set.
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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by Admin on Thu Sep 11, 2008 6:57 am

3 Cheers to the Economic Development Committee for your aggressive efforts to bring business into the area. Steve Eldridge indicated in his exit letter that Economic Development isnít a sprint but a long distance race. I think he was right.

Keep up the good work and Iím sure weíll see the fruits of your labor.

And thank you.
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Thanks, and here are some ways to help!

Post by Phil Blampied on Thu Sep 11, 2008 9:19 pm

Thank you for your gracious post about the Economic Development Committee. I am still looking for ways to include as many people as possible in the effort. Here are two.

One, if you are a crafter, or if you know a crafter, then be aware of our effort to explore the possibility of launching a craft co-op in Rumford. This is currently in the exploratory stage only and if we discover the idea doesn't have legs, we'll abandon it. But the probability it will work is good. Here's the full proposal, see for yourself, and come to our informational/organizational meeting on Saturday, September 27 at 10 am in the Rumford Town Hall. The proposal is in .pdf form at http://www.growrumford.com/Goodfisher.pdf

The other: if you have ever thought of going into business for yourself, we'd like to include you in a resource list so that if an opportunity comes up, we can tell you about it. The .pdf form is at http://www.growrumford.com/Rumfordself-employment.pdf

Our next meeting is Wednesday, September 24 at 6 pm in the Rumford town hall auditorium and the public is welcome.

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by Admin on Fri Sep 19, 2008 10:52 pm

Hi Phil B.

I heard you talk a bit about efforts to bring a wood pellet manufacturing plant into the area. I would think this would be a very viable idea given the amount of wood in this area. I imagine the start up costs would be high.

Do you have any more information you could share with us about this?
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Wood Pellets

Post by Phil Blampied on Sat Sep 20, 2008 7:39 pm

Wood pellets: there are three operating pellet mills now. Others are interested, including Les Otten in Bethel, a start-up is pending in Strong and even our own Maine wood products complex on Rt. 2 is remotely intrigued by pellets. Of the three operating, the one the farthest away was the only one willing to talk about Rumford. Northeast Pellets LLC is in Aroostook County, but the CEO is Matt Bell who was once on the ski patrol at Black Mountain, thus has sympathy for us. He is willing to talk, very tentatively, about some kind of auxiliary operation here. The driving factor behind pellet mills is having sufficient wood to turn into pellets. This challenge dwarfs the mere problems of getting machinery, capital and labor. If Rumford is interesting to a pellet mill, it would be because of the availability of wood. An auxiliary operation might be some kind of chipping or sawdust operation, sending that material to a pellet mill elsewhere.

There is a concern among some affiliated with New Page that any enterprise coming into the area and competing for wood fiber would damage their operation by increasing cost/decreasing supplies of wood fiber. Foresters we've spoken to say, no, there's enough wood and it wouldn't create a wood shortage or drive up New Page's costs. It is a debate.

We haven't pursued the conversation with Bell beyond the preliminary stage, although we have identified the fact that all the sawdust generated locally (Irving, Maine Wood Products) is already consumed locally, mostly for burning, thus there is no product now available for sale to far-off pellet mills. We will be talking to Bell again, but there is no slam dunk, simple formula, given the various complicating factors. A chipping plant, such as those in Shelburne, NH and West Paris, requires a multi-acre flat area, which we don't really have. Something could be built on a hill but that adds to the expense. Then there is the overriding concern that if oil stays below $100 a barrel, the market for pellets might tank. You can sell every single pellet you can make right now, but if you're making an investment, you're looking three to five years out and beyond. There are uncertainties in that time frame. If Rumford has a role to play, it might be some kind of preliminary staging area for raw materials or semi-processed materials heading for pellet mills elsewhere, and what that would be would have to be defined by the pellet mill operators themselves. Our continuing conversation with Bell will try to answer that question. Or, someone could set up a backyard sort of operation, one or two people, since pellet mills come in various sizes, and crank out pellets just for consumption in the immediate area. Otten may be doing something like that, and the Maine wood products complex on Rt. 2 is thinking, tentatively, very early stage, along those lines too.

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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

Post by Admin on Thu Oct 02, 2008 6:35 am

Hi Phil,

I posted a nice note complimenting you on you very informed and thorough response to my question but I guess it got lost when the site crashed a few days ago.

Thank you for your response. It was excellent.

Did you see this in the paper today?

http://www.sunjournal.com/story/285377-3/MaineNews/Wood_pellet_supply_short/
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Re: Stop the falsehoods. Here are the facts about the Econ Dev Committee.

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