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Unpublished Letter to Lincoln County News Calling for Transparency for JECD

Recently there was an article in the Boothbay Register about the secret society devising a master economic development plan for the Boothbay Region. There was a comment discussion about it in which I was involved. The discussion was deleted and comments were closed but I kept thinking further about the subject and so I submitted a letter to the Lincoln County News, The letter was not published and so I am posting it here. It is called propaganda when only one side of anything is allowed to be expressed. Maine has been oppressed by propaganda for a very long time, which is why I published by book, Public Private Relationships and the New Owners of the Means of Production. Thank You Internet for allowing another avenue of communication!

UNPUBLISHED LETTER TO THE LINCOLN COUNTY NEWS

Dear Editor and Community,

I am an independent researcher. Many of you may know our family business Andersen Design. About seven years ago, I became involved in researching Maine's economic development statutes put into place under the Longely administration. Eventually the research called for a book, which I have self-published under the title Public Private Relationships and the New Owners of the Means of Production, available on Amazon.

I am writing in concern about what is happening in the Boothbay Region and about the secrecy with which the Joint Economic Community Development Council operates. The JECD does not have a website. A search for a listing of its members is fruitless. I eventually found their ad for consultants sponsored by the JECD on the Lincoln County Economic Development website. When I approached the JECD about my concept for the Andersen Design Museum of American Designer Craftsmen, complete with an economic development sales pitch, I was brushed off with only one sentence " we cannot do anything to help individual businesses". It is my understanding that the traditional role of an economic development council in the American free enterprise system. is to help individual businesses which are the driving force of the economy in the American free-enterprise system.

The only projects that the JECD is working on, which the public is told about, are the Festival of Lights and a wayfaring project. Both fall into the category of marketing but not fitting the category of economic development. The recent article in the Boothbay Register tells that the town is awarding the JECD a sum of 76000.00 for implementing its agenda. which includes hiring three consultant firms. Only one of the firms is directly involved in economic development. The other two firms are an architecture and landscaping firm and an engineering firm. This tells us that the JECD is planning on building something. 

The Home Rule Amendment authorizes municipalities to conduct public referendums for the construction of industrial buildings which may be leased or sold to a private enterprise. Unfortunately, the Constitution does not say that it must be leased or sold at fair market value. My research into Maine economic development history gives a basis for concern, specifically what transpired at the former Cutler Navy Base, which was chartered by the Maine Legislature, as the first "municipal corporation serving as an instrument of the state". It was then used as a shell company which gave its own real estate assets away to a private non-profit corporation, which would otherwise have had to pay fair market value for those assets. In turn, the private non-profit sold the assets to a private for-profit developer. At last count, the Maine Legislature awards the WCDA an annual budget of zero dollars a year. The MRRA, also a municipal corporation serving as an instrument of the state, receives a state grant which almost covers the interest on MRRA’s debt.

Constitutionally the JECD is authorized to pursue a project involved in constructing an industrial building but only by means of a public referendum. The article in the Boothbay Register identifies the sum to be awarded to the JECD but fails to identify the bond source of that funding. If bond money is appropriated to hire consultant firms, it follows that further bond funds will be asked or used for constructing industrial buildings. It is my opinion that the expenditure of consulting funds should be approved by public referendum. However, the article in the Register reports that the JECD is upset that Southport and Edgecomb are not kicking in funding for their services. Southport and Edgecomb did not vote in a public referendum to approve the funding and formation of the JECD. If the JECD wants Southport and Edgecomb to finance their agenda, the constitutional means of achieving that goal is by approval via public referendum in the municipalities of Southport and Edgecomb.

The Boothbay Register article identifies that the proposed industrial construction is intended to be privately owned when it says that the JECD is planning on using tif financing, which borrows on projected future property tax revenues. That belies what I was told in response to our proposed museum project- that the JECD can do nothing to help individual businesses. It the JECD is proposing industrial development financed by tif financing it is planning on helping individual businesses, but decidedly not a Museum of American Designer Craftsmen, although museums are well established as economic development assets. Does the JECD have a different type of business in mind that it prefers over anything that may be wanted by the inhabitants of the municipalities which it purports to serve? Why are the property owners of Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor being told by our town government that we are to finance the consultants for a master plan project being developed in such secrecy by the JECD? As the financiers of the JECD, the people of Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor deserve to be fully informed about how our money is being used and the identities of those on the council and the nature of the industrial buildings which the JECD is clearly planning as a component of their master plan for our community.

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