PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A plan hatched 60 years in the past to run the Presque Isle Industrial Park with oversight by a particular council is engaging companies — together with multinational firms — to maneuver to Aroostook County.
The Presque Isle Industrial Council manages the 440-acre Presque Isle Industrial Park that’s dwelling to about 55 companies and organizations, together with multinational corporations like FedEx, UPS and Coca-Cola, together with Northern Maine Group School and one in all its latest tenants, the Maine Military Nationwide Guard 185th Engineers Readiness Heart.
In lots of municipalities, equivalent to Caribou and Bangor, both the town or a non-public growth company sells city-owned areas on to corporations. However in Presque Isle, the town funds the commercial council as a part of its funds. By leasing areas to companies on the park, the council makes sufficient revenue to return cash to the municipal coffers every year. Meaning metropolis taxpayers don’t pay the prices of working the commercial park.
“We’ve accomplished this for many years,” Presque Isle Metropolis Supervisor Martin Puckett mentioned. “It’s why the commercial park was constructed, to generate locations for employment and locations of enterprise to exist in northern Maine.”
It’s pretty frequent all through Maine that cities set up unbiased growth firms, mentioned Steve Bolduc, Bangor financial growth officer. Although Bangor has a number of growth firms that handle totally different industrial areas, it doesn’t fund any of them with metropolis cash.
City managers and councils deal with municipal enterprise properties in Caribou and Houlton.
Caribou has an all-volunteer financial progress council that has no operational bills, Metropolis Supervisor Penny Thompson mentioned. The Caribou Industrial Park is totally occupied now, however she and the town council would deal with any tenants there.
“It’s completely totally different than how issues are organized in Presque Isle,” she mentioned.
Many Maine communities — together with Presque Isle — have additionally turned to tax increment financing districts, which use property taxes generated by tasks or companies inside a geographic space the municipality has outlined, in keeping with the Maine Division of Financial and Group Improvement. The cash can be utilized to finance public or personal tasks for as much as 30 years.
TIF districts additionally return cash to their municipalities, however the idea of a city-funded growth arm isn’t extensively seen.
Presque Isle developed its industrial council in 1961 to assist recoup losses from the closure of its air base that very same 12 months. Although the tenants have modified over time, the mission continues to be to draw new trade and assist the area develop economically.
Led by Govt Director Tom Powers, the commercial council has a seven-member board that features two Presque Isle Metropolis Council members, two representatives nominated by the Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce and three at-large administrators from the neighborhood who’re nominated both by the town council or the chamber, in keeping with the Presque Isle Industrial Council web site.
Present members are Scott Norton, at-large, president; Derik Smith, chamber, vp; Ray Hews, at-large, secretary-treasurer; Frank Bemis, at-large; Mike Chasse and Kevin Freeman, metropolis council; and Margo Dyer, chamber, at-large.
The council fields requests from potential companies, but in addition seeks people who may be a superb match for the Star Metropolis. It really works with current tenants who want bigger — or smaller — areas. The association has labored, Powers mentioned.
“We make greater than we spend. That revenue goes proper again to the town,” he mentioned.
In its 2022 funds, Presque Isle allotted $417,832 to the commercial council for operations and $150,000 for its constructing fund. Debt service from current loans is $214,001. Projected industrial park tenant income is $807,550. Meaning the commercial council will generate a $25,619 revenue.
The commercial council can both transfer companies into an current area or construct a brand new construction designed to suit particular wants.
Spec buildings are a part of the mannequin the town is utilizing and might create areas for companies to make use of both as an operational middle or for space for storing, Puckett mentioned. The town has constructed some spec buildings with tenants in thoughts and others that they later discovered occupants for.
Two years in the past medical wire producer Acme Monaco moved into a brand new constructing that took the place of two areas they previously used on the park. The town’s latest spec constructing was constructed for Coca-Cola, which is able to transfer from its massive Airport Drive location to a smaller facility on Skyway Road. Agricultural tools producer Spudnik will broaden in Coke’s former area.
Each companies have 10-year leases with choices to resume, and the lease will offset the price of the brand new constructing inside that point, Powers mentioned.
Companies on the industrial park make use of between 800 and 900 folks. The commercial council’s work is proof that municipalities can create and keep jobs and be concerned efficiently in financial growth, the town supervisor mentioned.
“It’s one of many shining stars of why now we have so many companies within the metropolis,” Puckett mentioned. “I’m fairly pleased with what’s up there and the foresight the [city] council had again after they created this.”