Greenville Economic Development Committee votes to incorporate

By Mike Lange
Staff Writer

    GREENVILLE — The Greenville Economic Development Committee officially voted to dissolve at its Aug. 23 meeting — or, more correctly “evolve,” as member Steve Bilodeau described.
    The town-appointed committee has discussed becoming a stand-alone corporation for several months, noting the advantages that non-profit organizations have in obtaining grants, defining goals and gaining more widespread community support.

    So at Friday’s meeting at the Greenville town office, the committee unanimously voted to incorporate as a 501(c)(3). Committee chairman Luke Muzzy said that it was crucial to get the corporation started on a positive note. “I’ve agonized over this for months. This is a big deal,” Muzzy said. “If we can’t do it right, we should just look each other in the eye and say we can’t do it.”
    The next step will be to ask the Board of Selectmen to eliminate the town-appointed committee, even though most of the members will also be on the new corporation.
    The committee debated three key questions: where will the money come from to set up the corporation, how it will be administered and how members will be chosen.
    Although there were some concerns expressed about the legal fees to set up the corporation, which could be up to $4,000, members said that the investment was worth the cost. Some even said they’d make a personal contribution to get the venture off the ground. “We need to do this right out of the box,” Bilodeau said.
    C. A. Dean Hospital CEO Geno Murray said that his administrative staff “would be able to provide some clerical help for the corporation. It’s not uncommon for us to do this like this.”
    The makeup of the corporation membership generated the most discussion, as some wanted to expand the panel right away while others preferred to keep it small.
    Juan Galan suggested that representatives from the town governments in Greenville, Rockwood and Shirley along with the Piscataquis and Somerset counties’ economic development council be added to the present mix. But Steve Levesque said that the new corporation should “start small and go bigger later … Don’t bite off too much too fast and overcomplicate things.”
    After discussion of the pros and cons, the corporation voted to keep the Greenville town manager, one member of the Board of Selectmen, Muzzy, Murray, Galan, Bilodeau, Levesque, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amber Lavigne and real estate broker Joe DiAngelo.
    Lavigne also said she liked the idea of “starting small. But we need a mission statement that defines the corporation. If you have a group of 11, 12 or 13 members and only six show up for a meeting, that can be frustrating.” Lavigne said that her organization is designed to encourage tourism, but that focus doesn’t exclude supporting economic development. “We’re not fighting against each other – we’re working together,” Lavigne said.
    The next step will be drafting a set of by-laws after the town officially approves the transition from a committee to a corporation.
    Muzzy also said that while there may be instances where a corporation meeting would be closed due to discussion of confidential information, such as a real estate transaction, most sessions would be open to the public.

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