NMDC holds dues level – Fiddlehead Focus

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For the 16th consecutive year Northern Maine Development Commission has elected not to increase dues assessments to member communities.

CARIBOU, Maine — For the 16th consecutive year Northern Maine Development Commission has elected not to increase dues assessments to member communities.

Meeting Thursday, Dec. 13, in Caribou, the NMDC executive board approved the dues assessments for 2019-20. The dues formula is based on 50 percent valuation and 50 percent population.

In general, member communities/counties receive a 20 percent reduction on costs for contracted services, preferred status when requesting assistance, and representation on the board and committees.

As an example, Houlton, in 2017-18, received direct services of $85,940 compared to NMDC dues of a little more than $10,000.

The board also adopted a capital growth plan for NMDC, where over the next five years, the business finance division would make 169 new loans, grow total assets from $12.4 million to $16 million, raise $3.3 million in grants and another $4 million in borrowed capital to support activities as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). NMDC was certified a CDFI in April of 2018.

The CDFI Fund was established in 1994 to promote economic revitalization and community development in low-income communities that may be underserved by traditional financial institutions. By certifying qualified institutions, CDFI brings together diverse private and public-sector investors to create economic opportunity.

“The CDFI program creates opportunities by providing access to affordable financial products and services for small businesses and provides access to new funding sources such as the US Treasury and many foundations that require CDFI certification prior to investing in the CDFI,” said NMDC Executive Director Robert Clark.

The financial growth plan directly corresponds with NMDC’s NextGen Strategic Plan. Both plans set expectations for NMDC to generate greater impact in the communities it serves through the deployment of its resources and more effective and efficient lending operations.

In other action, members approved two grant applications to USDA Rural Development. The first is a Solid Waste Management Grant to reduce plastic bag waste, also to train transfer stations, land fill operators and solid waste haulers on safety, operations, environmental and customer service. The grant would also allow for the update of transfer station operations and maintenance manual updates, as required by law.

The second application is for a project aptly titled WATER, Washington/Aroostook Training for Emergency and Resilience Planning. NMDC and partners will use USDA Rural Utilities Service funds to:

Survey water and wastewater utilities to identify and evaluate problems — existing and potential future issues; provide technical assistance and training to assist utility personnel to improve the management, operation and maintenance of water and wastewater disposal facilities; and assist in the preparation of water/wastewater grant/loan applications.

Executive Board members approved two new individuals to serve on the Aroostook County Tourism Board. Kevin Freeman, a businessman from Presque Isle heavily involved in the snowmobile industry, and Bill Sheehan, who is a member of the Aroostook Birders, will serve one-year terms.

Fort Kent Town Manager Susie Paradis and Eagle Lake Town Manager John Sutherland were also appointed to the NMDC Executive Board.

The next executive board meeting will be Feb. 14 at 12:30 p.m. in Caribou.

Submitted by Northern Maine Development Commission.

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