(from Maine Townsman, April 2002)

The Legislature has authorized three bond packages, and all but authorized a fourth, to be sent to the voters in 2002. Some of the bonding will be proposed to the voters in the June primary, and the remainder will be on the statewide ballot in November. The aggregate value of all four bond proposals is $113 million.

One set of bond proposals is in the amount of $35 million for a slate of economic development and job stimulus projects. The economic development bond package will appear on a ballot at the primary election on June 11, 2002.

A second borrowing package would invest $28.5 million into public school renovation, higher education facilities and a major governmental office building in Augusta. This facilities bond will also be on the ballot at the primary election on June 11th.

The third bond package is in the amount of $24.1 million for a broad range of environmental infrastructure investments. The environmental bond will be presented to the voters who turn out for the general election on November 5, 2002.

Also on the ballot in November, if it receives final legislative approval on April 24th, will be a $25 million bond for two major prison construction projects, one in Machias and one in Windham.

The bond proposals typically enjoy very strong municipal support because they represent critically necessary investments in capital infrastructure that supports the economy, environmental compliance and community facilities.

That is especially true this year because the Legislature has finally demonstrated a strong commitment to the Municipal Investment Trust Fund (MITF). This trust fund was designed and created in law 10 years ago for the purpose of providing non-property tax resources to communities to help pay for the infrastructure necessary to attract economic development, help manage residential and commercial growth and provide affordable housing. Although the vehicle to provide this type of financial support was created in 1993, the Legislature never committed any financial support to the MITF until last year, when a bond issue approved by the voters in November 2001 included a $300,000 line for the MITF.

The economic development/job stimulus bond package going out the voters on June 11 will include $4 million for the Trust Fund.

$4 million, if approved by the voters, will be an extremely welcome appropriation for the municipalities to advance their growth management and economic development programs. In response to that level of legislative commitment, the municipalities are convinced that they can move forward on some infrastructure projects that will amply demonstrate the value of a state and local infrastructure investment system that is coordinated through the Municipal Investment Trust Fund.

What follows is a breakdown of the various components of these four separate bond packages.


Economic Development Bond

June 11, 2002

Total Package $34.97 million

    Maine Rural Development Authority $6 million

    Municipal Investment Trust Fund $4 million

    Economic Recovery Loan Program $4 million

    Economic Development Revolving Loan Program $4 million

    University of Maine Product Development Facility $5 million

    USM Product Development Facility $4 million

    Biomedical Research Fund $5.5 million

    Court Facility and Drinking Water Security $540,000

    Renovation of Schoodic Education Research Center $400,000

    Franco-American Heritage Center in Lewiston $1 million

    Center Theater in Dover-Foxcroft $500,000

    Moosehead Marine Museum in Greenville $30,000

Facilities Bond

June 11, 2002

Total value $28.5 million

    School Revolving Renovation Fund $13 million

    Dormitory Sprinklers - University/Technical College Systems $7 million

    Renovation of State Office Harlow Building $8 million

    Renovation for Homeless Teen Center in Portland $500,000


Environmental Bond

November 5, 2002

Total Package $24.1 million

    Fish-rearing facility wastewater treatment $7 million

    Loans for wastewater facility con-struction and upgrade $5 million (matching $12.5 million federal funds)

    Grants and loans for drinking water facilities $1.8 million (matching $6 million in federal funds)

    State and local household hazardous waste recycling infrastructure $1.5 million

    Overboard discharge abatement $1 million

    Small Community Grant Program (septic system replacement) $1 million

    Uncontrolled hazardous waste site abatement $1 million

    Solid Waste Landfill remediation $500,000

    Tire stockpile abatement $500,000

    Dam Repair and Reconstruction Fund $500,000

    Geographic Information Systems (GIS) based library $2.3 million

    Construction and retrofitting manure pits $1 million

    Agricultural irrigation infrastructure $500,000

    Potato Marketing Improvement Fund $500,000


Prison Bond

November 5, 2002

Total value $25 million

(Not yet finally approved)

    New Downeast Correctional Facility in Machias $13.9 million

    Improvements to Windham Correctional Center $11.1 million