Media Archive

Voters to decide on Piscataquis bond package

Article from Bangor Daily News, Wednesday, September 22, 2004

By Diana Bowley
of the NEWS Staff

MILO - Ask John Wentworth, president of Moosehead Manufacturing Co., why he supports passage of a $952,000 Piscataquis County bond referendum this November, and he'll tell you that it will benefit the entire county.Piscataquis County is the only county in Maine that has the ability to go out to bond for economic development projects and Piscataquis County commissioners are exercising that right this November.

County residents will vote at their respective polling places whether to support a funding package that will: extend a water line to Pleasant River Lumber Co. in Dover-Foxcroft to pave the way for a $5.7 million expansion; purchase land or be used for the development of the proposed Eastern Piscataquis Industrial Park in Milo; allow the purchase of land in Greenville to expand its industrial park; and will provide funds to enlarge the Greenville Business Incubator.

A successful bond question will need 3,553 people to register at the polls and 1,778 people to vote in favor of the bond question. If approved, the bond will be repaid by residents in organized towns and unorganized territories through the property taxes they pay to operate county government.

"As a business owner, I know how important industrial parks, business incubators and public utilities such as water lines are to any business expansion decision. Because of this, I am a strong supporter of the Piscataquis County economic development bond," Wentworth told county, municipal and business leaders who gathered Tuesday across from the proposed Piscataquis Industrial Park in Milo.

The gathering was held to launch Jobs for Piscataquis, a political action committee chaired by Wentworth, that supports the bond's passage. Other officers of the PAC are Jeff Gahagan of Milo, vice president; Tom Lizotte of Dover-Foxcroft, secretary, and Linda Gilbert of Abbot, treasurer.

While the bond issue will not directly benefit Moosehead Manufacturing Co., there will be indirect benefits that will help strengthen the business and its jobs, according to Wentworth. He noted that his company is now doing some assembly and finish work for JSI Store Fixtures in Milo. Had JSI not moved from Howland to Milo, that job connection likely would not have occurred, he said.

Like Wentworth, Lizotte believes that the creation of a job in any community will help the overall economy of the county. He said Piscataquis County lost 8 percent of its population between 1990-2000 because there were no jobs available.

"We want to grow jobs over there where they used to grow potatoes," Lizotte said Tuesday, sweeping his hand in the direction of the Dorman Farm across the street, the proposed site of the industrial park.

If Milo and Brownville prosper by having added industry, their state valuations will increase which will shift more county costs in their direction and lessen it for other communities, Lizotte said after the meeting. The same goes for new industry in any of the county's communities. What is good for one community is good for another, he said.

"We're asking people to invest in their own county" by supporting the bond issue, Lizotte said.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.