The town of MRRA is the third former military base to be chartered as a municipal corporation serving as an instrument of the state. The first was the Washington County Development Authority, in Maine's poorest county, chartered as a shell company which would transfer the real estate assets of the base to private developers. Since a legally challenged entity such as :a "municipal corporation serving as an instrument of the state" cannot collect property taxes or provide municipal services, the Legislatures gift of WCDA"s real estate assets to a private non-profit corporation, left the WCDA without any means of income except collecting rent on remaining real estate.
Recently after two private developers were unable to make a go of the expensive-to-maintain commercial property, it was gifted back to the WCDA. The volunteer staff of the WCDA requested a state bond to maintain and develop the commercial real estate. It was shelved by the Maine Legislature. I have put in a request with the Legislative Library for what happened there after: Was the request shelved because the WCDA does not have a private investor to purchase support from the Maine Legislature? Where are Senator Collin and King when it comes to delivering bonds to Maine's poorest county?
L.D. 1334, An Act to Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue to Repair and Renovate the Former Cutler Navy Base in Washington County to Facilitate Development and Stimulate the Economy was carried over by the Legislature's Appropriations Committee. The legislation would send a bond issue question to the voters that, if approved, would provide funds to repair and modernize the buildings on the former base.This funding is essential to the successful redevelopment of the property and would allow this significant public asset to again contribute to the state's economy. The Authority strongly recommends passage of LD 13 34.
The Authority also recommends that the state invest the necessary staff and financial resources to support the redevelopment of the former Cutler base. A bill that would have provided direct financial support to the Authority (LD 1333) was defeated in the last legislative session. The Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development has appointed Brian Mulligan as his representative on the Authority's Board; Mr. Mulligan's active participation has been very helpful. Staff support in grant proposal development, project administration, and property management would help move the redevelopment project forward.
(Sec. 2853) Authorizes the Secretary of the Navy to convey to the State of Maine, or a subdivision or agency thereof, the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station in Cutler, Maine. Authorizes the lease of such property pending conveyance. H.R.4205 –Floyd D. Spence National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000 (emphasis added)
The Home Rule Amendment requires that when the Legislature charters a municipal corporation, it must provide the process by which the inhabitants of the municipality can amend their own charter. This has never been done for Maine's three municipalities serving as instruments of the state.
At the time the base was closed, there was the option not to accept the expensive-to-maintain commercial real estate. Without a municipal government, the only agent responsible for accepting the property and giving it to the Cutler Development Corporation was the State of Maine. Now that the property has been gifted back to the base, the Maine Legislature no longer accepts responsibility for the expensive-to-maintain commercial real estate - per my knowledge to date, Now it is the municipality of WCDA's problem as the Legislature turns its back on the WCDA.