Gov. Paul LePage's decision to hold back funds from a bond approved in 2010 has left a handful of Maine communities without planned funding for downtown redevelopment projects.
LePage last month told state agencies not to budget for $40 million in bond funds already approved by voters but not yet sold in the bond market. Affected funds include $3.5 million in Communities for Maine's Future grants awarded to 11 communities in September 2011, according to the Bangor Daily News. Last week, some of the communities received notification that the money, which was to be matched with private investment, won't be available for at least two years. The communities that received the grants were: Bath, Belfast, Dover-Foxcroft, Eastport, Livermore Falls, Monmouth, Norway, Rockland, Skowhegan, Unity and Winthrop. Some municipalities said they had not yet heard from the governor's office about the awards.
Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner George Gervais said state officials are working to find other sources of funding for the affected projects, which include the renovation of the Norway Opera House, the Belfast Harbor Walk and the redevelopment of the Thorndike complex in Rockland.