Tipping: LePage Plays Favorites

Posted on August 7, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

Eye opening stuff from Mike this morning. Some snips:

“… after blocking the issuing of voter-approved community development bonds slated to help 11 towns in Maine, Gov. Paul LePage had selectively helped five of those communities receive alternate funding for their planned development projects.

Every one of the five — Norway, Livermore Falls, Dover-Foxcroft, Eastport and Monmouth — is represented by Republicans in both the House and Senate.

None of the four towns with Democratic representatives — Rockland, Skowhegan, Bath and Belfast — received similar assistance.

That’s quite a coincidence.”

Indeed it is.
Mike concludes:

“It doesn’t seem to matter how well-planned your development project is or how many small businesses it will help. If the governor doesn’t like your town or the people in it, he won’t help it succeed.”

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Redevelopment Funding for 4 Communities Clarified; Questions Remain Regarding Hold Up For Others

Posted on August 2, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

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(A reminder to readers: Gerald, who has been the one chronicling this story to this point left for vacation this morning. In full disclosure, I live in one of the towns affected. ~Andi)

According to the Lewiston Sun Journal, developer Kevin Bunker said yesterday he has received a $400,000 Maine Rural Development Authority loan to go forward with Livermore Falls’ Lamb Block project.

As collateral, Bunker used a letter from Gov. LePage stating that said bonds would be issued in that amount by June 20, 2015, to repay the loan.

“I needed to have the project done by the end of the year for HealthReach to move into,”
Bunker said. “I couldn’t sit around and wait for the governor to release bond funds. I had time constraints.”

LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett said Wednesday that three other communities that expected to receive funding for projects are either in the process or have been qualified for other funding such as Community Block Development Grants.

“The state is ready and willing to help these communities, and we have demonstrated it,” she said. “What we really want is town officials to reach out to us to find a solution because they are our customers.”

Those three other eligible communities — Eastport, Dover-Foxcroft and Monmouth — secured Community Development Block Grants for their projects, according to Doug Ray, a spokesman for the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development. All three “had signed contracts that were well underway” and all three projects fit CDBG guidelines. Eastport received $190,000, Monmouth received $157,641 and Dover-Foxcroft garnered $140,000.

But other communities are still waiting and asking the Governor when it will be their turn:

Bennett said the administration awarded the grants based on an evaluation of each project’s estimated “return on investment”, as well as that economic development department, not LePage, will likely participate in the meeting requested by several town and city administrators.

As Steve Mistler noted in his report, how the administration quantifies the “return of investment” qualifier or whether other projects are falling short of it remains unclear:

Geoff Herman of the Maine Municipal Association said that the current situation complicates the communities’ ability to receive other financing, because they don’t control the issuance of the bonds and the state does.

“Banks and bond houses may need something firm (from the state),” Herman said.

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