Budget, business plan for Tech Center OK’d

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RUMFORD – Directors at Tuesday afternoon’s River Valley Technology Center meeting, unanimously approved a projected budget of more than $100,000.

They also unanimously approved a proposed business plan, which is required by a $50,000 Maine Department of Economic and Community Development management grant sought by the center.

The 2006-07 budget of $100,260 is contingent on getting the $50,000 grant, center Executive Director Rosie Bradley told directors.

Last year, $50,000 was sought, but the state only approved $29,229, which meant the budget had to be reworked and re-approved.

Bradley said she’d know by mid-July if the state will award the requested amount. If it’s lower, the budget would have to be redone and approval again sought.

Other factors affecting the budget are state-required tests and a phone line for the building’s elevator. The line will be routed to the fire department. Bradley said the center is expected to be in compliance with the state once the tests are completed and phone is installed.

The 2006-07 budget represents an increase of $9,581 over last year’s budget of $90,679.

Projected expenses are expected to be $99,879, an increase of $8,349 over last year’s $91,530 in expenses.

Estimated fuel costs and electricity are driving much of the hike. A new boiler must be added to the former bag mill, which was donated to the River Valley Growth Council by the former MeadWestvaco paper mill.

“Being our first year doing it, it’s like a shot in the dark. We ballparked that,” Bradley said of the Finance Committee’s estimated $24,000 cost for fuel.

Electricity expenses to light and cool the building have averaged $2,500 a month, which is why Bradley estimated the cost at $30,000. Last year’s budget estimated the expense at $21,600, or $1,800 a month.

“There’s no fluff in this budget,” she added, explaining that cuts were made in insurance, telephone costs and travel expenses.

The four-story brick building, with 16,000 square feet per floor, has been partially renovated with state and federal grant money.

According to the business plan, the goal is to fill the center’s available space with tenants who will incubate their businesses in the building for three to five years, then move into the River Valley area community as successful businesses.

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