A central Maine developer has received a $400,000 loan from the Maine Rural Development Authority for a project to transform the Lamb Block building in Livermore Falls into a health clinic and offices.
Using a letter from Gov. Paul LePage as collateral, developer Kevin Bunker says he plans to invest about $2 million in the project. The letter from LePage says a $400,000 bond will be issued by June 2015 to repay the RDA loan, according to the Sun Journal.
Funding for the project was jeopardized when the governor announced he would not issue a $3.5 million bond that was part of a $25 million Community Development bond package approved by Maine voters in 2010. That funding was expected to help revitalization projects in 11 towns under the Communities for Maine's Future Program.
The governor's loan letter has some state lawmakers asking why the Livermore Falls project was promised access to funding when others were not. The governor's press secretary Adrienne Bennett told the Bangor Daily News that the governor encourages creative fundraising from developers and municipalities; Bunker's leveraging the promise of state loans to drum up private funds does not "make the taxpayer the bank."