RUMFORD – Selectmen last week unanimously backed a proposal by the River Valley Growth Council to contract with an outside firm to try to find businesses to relocate or start up in the River Valley area.

“We’re always talking about economic development. We should put money where our mouth is,” Selectman Mark Belanger said after acting council director Diane Ray’s presentation.

Ray is asking that area towns contribute about $16,500 to hire the services of Virtual Strategies Inc., a Washington, D.C., corporate and business development firm, to search for businesses and industries that may want to move to the River Valley area.

The Rumford board agreed to give $5,000 toward hiring the company.

Ray said she is looking for grant money to complete the total amount needed, and Rumford’s contribution could help get that money.

She said Maine & Co. have used Virtual Strategies with good results.

“I think this is a good project,” Town Manager Jim Doar said.

The town’s share will come from the economic development account.

Also on Thursday, selectmen learned that exterior work on the Municipal Building renovation project has been delayed because of an 8,000-gallon underground fuel tank near the soon-to-be new stair tower.

Doar said the tank must be removed before work can continue. The tank, which holds fuel oil for the Municipal Building and the fire station, will be replaced with separate tanks for each building. Three 330-gallon tanks will be installed for the Municipal Building and two 330-gallon tanks installed for the fire station.

He said funds needed for the removal and replacement, estimated to be no more than $8,000, will be drawn from the project’s contingency fund.

Some on the board believe the project’s architect should have been aware of the need to move the tank.

“Maybe we could split the cost with the architect,” board Chairman Greg Buccina said.

The board set a special meeting for Oct. 29 to open bids on the tank’s removal. In the meantime, town officials will contact Smith Reuter and Lull about sharing the cost of that removal.

In other business on Thursday, selectmen:

• agreed to meet with the Parks Commission to discuss its future plans and long-term goals;

• awarded the contract for the replacement of a major part of the slate roof at the Rumford Public Library to Hahnel Bros., Auburn, at a cost of $25,500; and

• awarded the contract for the purchase of 140 feet of sewer pipe to Paris Farmers Union in Paris at a cost of $24.28 per foot.

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